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Mitch Petrus Dies of Heat Stroke at 32

Mitch Petrus, who won a Super-Bowl with the New York Giants in 2011, died of heat stroke at the very young age of 32.  He had worked outside all day at his parents' shop in greater than 100 degree heat index weather during a Pan-Arkansas heat advisory.  Late in the afternoon, he felt sick,...

Nick Buoniconti and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Nick Buoniconti was a five-time All-Pro and winner of two Super Bowls in his 14-year career in the National and American Football Leagues, an All-American at the University of Notre Dame, and a highly intelligent lawyer, player’s agent, TV sports broadcaster, and corporate executive.  He died on July 30, 2019, at age 78, of...

Steve Jobs and Pancreatic Cancer

Steve Jobs was given up for adoption at birth and went on to become a self-made billionaire even though he was never graduated from college.  He used marijuana and LSD and dropped out of Reed College in his freshman year to travel through India to study Zen Buddhism.     Jobs was a major force for the...

Neil Armstrong’s Bypass Surgery

Neil Armstrong was a great American hero who:  • flew 78 combat missions as a Korean War military pilot,  • was a test pilot for new planes, and  • was the 1966 spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar mission. On July 20, 1969, he became the first human to walk on the moon.  He later...

Jim Bouton and Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy

Jim Bouton was not good enough to play on his high school baseball team but ended up as a professional All-Star baseball pitcher with the New York Yankees who won both of his starts in the 1964 World Series.  He was also a best-selling author, movie actor, and sportscaster and one of the creators...

Alma Mahler, Muse to Many

Alma Schindler Mahler is famous for marrying and having affairs with some of the most brilliant and accomplished men of the 20th century. She was a composer, sculptor and writer who wanted to be famous for her own intellectual creations, but she lived at a time when it was extremely difficult for women to be prominent in the arts. She took the next best approach by marrying and loving some of the leading musicians, composers, architects, painters and writers of the era.

Jared Lorenzen and the Perils of Obesity

Jared Lorenzen was arguably one of the greatest high school athletes ever.  At Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, he was the football quarterback who led his team to a four-year 41-2 won/loss record, passed for 6,822 yards and had 89 career touchdown passes.  As a senior in 1998, he led his team...

Dr. John’s Life of Music

For more than 60 years, Dr. John sang, played and wrote songs in the blues, pop, jazz, boogie-woogie, and rock and roll.  He dressed in Mardi Gras costumes and his performances were often staged as voodoo ceremonies or folk medicine shows.  He recorded 39 albums, won six Grammy Awards and was inducted into the...

President Van Buren and Late Onset Asthma

At age 51, Martin Van Buren became the first native-born president of the United States because he was born after the American Revolution. At age 40, he developed a cough and progressive shortness of breath that would be diagnosed today as "late-onset asthma," but in those days, his physician called it "malignant catarrh."

Did Chopin Have Cystic Fibrosis?

Frederic Chopin was one of the greatest composers of solo piano music and a gifted pianist whose incredible techniques are still copied by concert pianists. He had a disease that made him sick from early childhood, and he died at the tragically young age of 39. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but instead, he probably suffered from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that was not even described until 1938.

Tim Conway and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Tim Conway starred on television for 40 years, where he played Ensign Parker on McHale's Navy for four years, created an array of comic characters on The Carol Burnett Show for 11 years, and hosted his own variety show for two years.  He received six Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a star on Hollywood’s...

B.B. King: A Long Life that Should Have Been Longer

B.B. King was arguably the best-known blues singer and guitarist in the world. He recorded more than 50 albums, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, won a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1988, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1990 and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991.

Bart Starr, Legendary Quarterback

Bart Starr was a good, but not great, college quarterback who wasn't selected until the 17th round of the 1956 NFL draft after 199 other players were picked. In the next 15 years, he: • led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL titles including three consecutive league championships (1965–1967) • was the Most Valuable Player in winning the first two Super Bowl championships • won the league MVP award in 1966 • was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame • had the highest post-season passer rating (104.8) of any quarterback in NFL history • had an incredible career completion percentage of 57.4

Horace Fletcher, the Great Masticator

Horace Fletcher was known as "The Great Masticator," who said "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate." More than 100 years ago, in 1913, his book Fletcherism tried to convince people to chew their food to a liquid pulp. He claimed that this would help to control weight and prevent diabetes.

Ted Kennedy’s Brain Cancer

The recent college admission scandal in which rich parents pay to have their undeserving children accepted at major colleges is not new and has been going on for years. However, a college admissions officer can only look at an applicant's record up to the time he applies to school and really has no idea how successful he will be in the future.

John Singleton: High Blood Pressure and Strokes

John Singleton was a film and TV director, screenwriter, and producer who, in 1991 at age 24, became the first African American and the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, for his film Boyz n the Hood.

Ian Cognito: When Every Minute Counts

At age 60, British comedian Ian Cognito collapsed and died from a heart attack while performing on stage at a crowded comedy club on April 11, 2019. The audience thought that this was part of his act and did not realize that he was actually having a heart attack, when every minute counts for a rescue team to save his life.

Peter Sellers’s Many Heart Attacks

Peter Sellers was a very talented British film actor, comedian and singer who could create characters and copy accents so effectively that he often played several different roles in the same film. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award, and four times for Golden Globe’s best male actor award. His most famous role was that of Chief Inspector Clouseau in the five Pink Panther films.

Earl Thomas Conley and Cerebral Atrophy

Earl Thomas Conley was a country music singer-songwriter who during the 1980s and 1990s had 24 Top-10 country singles including 18 that were Number One. Only Alabama and Ronnie Milsap had more number one hits during the decade. This month, at age 77, Conley died after spending many months in hospice care for cerebral atrophy, a condition that had caused progressive loss of memory over several years.

Jack Lemmon, American Icon

Jack Lemmon was an actor who starred in more than 60 films, won two Academy Awards and was nominated eight times. He was born into a wealthy but abusive family and died at age 76 from complications of colon cancer that had spread to his bladder.

Barry Marshall, from Quack to Nobel Prize

In 1983, Barry Marshall and John Warren presented a paper to the Australian Gastroenterological Society claiming that stomach ulcers are caused by infection. They never finished their paper because they were laughed off the stage. Barry Marshall became so upset that he swallowed a vial of the bacteria taken from a patient who had stomach ulcers, went into shock and almost died.

Nelson Rockefeller’s Heart Attack

On January 26, 1979, Nelson Rockefeller, former Vice President of the United States, a four-term governor of New York and an heir to the Rockefeller family fortune, died at age 70 of a heart attack that was rumored to have occurred during extramarital sex. Rockefeller's family chose not to have an autopsy done; instead, he was cremated 18 hours after he was pronounced dead.

Kelly Catlin: Concussion, Depression and Suicide

Kelly Catlin was a world-class bicycle racer who won a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics and gold medals in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships. At the same time, she was a concert-quality classical violinist and an artist, was graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, spoke fluent Chinese, and was in the exclusive graduate school in mathematics at Stanford University when she committed suicide at age 23, on March 7, 2019

Luke Perry: Young Strokes

Luke Perry was a television actor and movie star for more than 35 years, most famous as Dylan McKay, a brooding and alcoholic teenager who was the son of a millionaire on the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1990 to 1995, and again from 1998 to 2000. He was ranked #6 in the list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (TV Guide, January 23, 2005).

Typhoid Mary’s Gall Bladder

Do you know why a healthy person who makes other people sick may be called a "Typhoid Mary"? There really was a Typhoid Mary. She was an apparently healthy person who caused more than ten documented epidemics of typhoid fever, at least three documented deaths, and probably many more cases that could not be confirmed.

Peter Tork of The Monkees

Peter Tork sang and played bass and keyboard for The Monkees, a television show about a band spoofing the The Beatles. The show ran for two years from 1966 to 1968 and won an Emmy Award for outstanding comedy.

Albert Finney’s Kidney Cancer Treatments

Albert Finney was an English actor best remembered for his Academy-Award-nominated roles as the lawyer in Erin Brockovich, Geoffrey Firmin in Under the Volcano, Sir in The Dresser, Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, and the title role in the 1963 classic, Tom Jones.

Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime

I cried when I heard the life story of Scott Joplin, and you will cry also. He was an African-American composer and pianist whose 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas paved the way for other black artists to develop ragtime music which would evolve into jazz. However, prejudice against blacks in late nineteenth century United States ran so deep that Joplin died penniless in a mental institution.

Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Heart Attacks

On January 22, 1973, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, died at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas, at age 65 from what was probably his fifth heart attack. He was one of the hardest-working presidents ever and could have lived much longer if he had changed the lifestyle factors that caused his first heart attack at age 47.

What Killed Alexander the Great?

In 323 BCE, Alexander the Great died suddenly at the very young age of 32. This month, more than 2,300 years later, Dr Katherine Hall of the University of Otaga in New Zealand gives a very strong argument that he died of nerve damage from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Alexander never lost a battle and was one of the most successful military commanders of all time. By age 30, he had reached the edge of the known world (modern India), to form an empire that stretched from today's Albania to eastern Pakistan, the largest empire of the ancient world.