It wasn't the Russians who defeated Napoleon in the War of 1812; it was Napoleon's surgeon general, Baron Larrey. Napoleon was set to conquer the civilized world, but he was done in by Russia's horribly cold winter. Baron Larrey made matters worse by telling the soldiers to rub snow on their frozen hands. Rubbing snow on frostbite removed their skin, which led to infection and death.
One of the greatest natural track athletes of all time died from lung cancer at age 58. He went from extreme poverty to athletic riches and back to extreme poverty, never having won an Olympic medal. He was unknown to most people but is a legend to all true fans of track and field.
On May 23, 2015, John Nash and his wife were killed while riding in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike. The driver hit a guardrail and another car, and the Nashes, who were not wearing seatbelts, were thrown from the taxi. John Nash was 86 and Alicia Nash was 83. Nash...
On October 7, 1959, singer Mario Lanza died suddenly at age 38 of a heart attack just as he was getting ready to check out of a medical clinic in Rome. He didn't mean to kill himself, but his entire adult life was full of behaviors and actions that are known to cause heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and premature death.
Natasha Richardson was a British stage and screen actress who died at the young age of 45 from an epidural brain hemorrhage caused by a skiing accident. From this tragedy you can learn how to recognize the signs of severe head injury even when the person insists that they do not need any...
On February 5, 2020, Bernard L. Madoff, the mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, filed a court brief asking to be released from his 150-year prison sentence because his doctors said that he had less than a year and a half to live due to end-stage kidney disease. His request was denied, and on April 14, 2021, he died in prison, apparently from heart failure brought on by his chronic kidney failure and a previous heart attack.
Ty Cobb was probably the most aggressive baseball player who ever lived. He was better than everyone else at almost every baseball statistic except fielding, for which he still holds the American League record for errors (271) by an outfielder. During his baseball career, he set 90 major league baseball records and today still...
Early on the morning of July 2, 1961, sixty-one year old Ernest Hemingway, one of America's greatest writers and the winner of both the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize, sat in the foyer of his home and shot himself in the head with a double-barreled shotgun. I believe that his suicide was caused by his doctors' complete failure to diagnose hemochromatosis, a hereditary disease that was so well known and so easy to treat that he could have had no suffering at all.
Bobbie Battista was one of the original CNN cable news anchors, starting in 1981 and continuing to broadcast there for 20 years. She died at the very young age of 67 after a four-year battle with cervical cancer.
Tommy Kono was probably the greatest Olympic weightlifter of all time. Between 1952 to 1960, he won two Olympic gold medals and one silver Olympic medal. His Olympic medals were in three different weight classes: gold in lightweight, gold in light heavyweight and silver in middleweight.
Phyllis McGuire, lead singer of the “McGuire Sisters” who were famous in the 1950s and 1960s, died on December 29, 2020 at age 89 in Las Vegas. In 1968, she left her singing career for a multi-year affair with equally famous Sam Giancana, who a notorious gangster and leader of the Chicago mob.
If you are envious of great athletes, read the true story of what happened when two Olympic athletes married. Vera Caslavska of Czechoslovakia (born May 3, 1942) won 35 medals, (including 22 gold) at the Olympic Games and at world and European championships. She was the dominant athlete of the 1968 Olympics when she...
Gustav Mahler was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) to German-Jewish parents who were children of street peddlers. By age five, Gustav was an accomplished piano player and at 10 he played many public performances. By age 15, he was such a good pianist that the famous piano virtuoso, Julius Epstein, accepted him as a pupil at the Vienna Conservatory.
On November 30, 2018 George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States, died of vascular Parkinsonism, a disease with many of the same risk factors as those for strokes and a heart attack. However, he did not have the two major risk factors for heart attacks: He was not overweight and he exercised regularly (and vigorously, at least in his younger days).
When Eartha Kitt died at age 81 of colon cancer, her daughter said that, "she ate huge amounts of vegetables and their house in Beverly Hills had a huge vegetable garden as well as an aviary with chickens and roosters.
At age 33, Erich Segal wrote his best-known novel, Love Story, that sold more than 21 million copies, was the top selling work of fiction for 1970 in the United States and has been translated into more than 33 languages. He was on the track team with me at Harvard and ran the Boston Marathon with me several times.
Soul singer Charles Bradley died of stomach cancer on September 23, 2017 at the very young age of 68. As you read his life story, you will cry just as I did, because of the incredible hardships this man overcame to eventually become a famous singer. His soulful moaning and yelling came from a man who spent much of his life alone, even sleeping on the streets, and was plagued by illiteracy, poverty and lack of a steady job.
Hammerin' Hank Aaron was regarded as one of the greatest baseball players ever. He hit 755 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s record, hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and in 1982, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for holding the Major League Baseball records for the most career runs batted in (2,297), most extra base hits (1,477), and most total bases (6,856).