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George Gershwin, Incorrectly Diagnosed with Depression

George Gershwin was arguably America’s greatest composer of Broadway musicals and movie film scores, and was always the bon vivant of every party he attended. He wrote the enormously successful “Swanee” at age nineteen. He was a playboy who rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, and was also a natural athlete and a...

Franz Schubert, Syphilis and Mercury Poisoning

Two centuries ago, Franz Schubert composed music that today is among the most frequently performed music by classical orchestras, piano soloists, singers and choruses. Although he died before his 32nd birthday, he wrote more than a thousand original compositions including 600 choral works.

Eero Mantryanta’s High EPO Gene

Eero Mantyranta was one of the greatest cross country skiers ever. He competed in four Winter Olympics (1960–1972) and won seven medals. In the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, he won the 15 kilometer race by an incredible forty seconds and then won the 30 kilometer race by more than a minute.

Don Imus, Prostate Cancer and Emphysema

Don Imus wore an old cowboy hat as the confrontational radio host of “Imus in the Morning,” who shouted tasteless, obscene, sexist, homophobic and even racist remarks about people in the news over more than 100 radio stations to become the "shock jock of radio." In 2009 he was diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and treated with watchful waiting.

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).

Jackie Gleason’s Colon Cancer

Jackie Gleason was the most famous television actor of his time and he was so hilarious that reruns of his shows and movies are still popular today. At age 33, he became Chester A. Riley in the television production "The Life of Riley". At age 36, he starred in "The Jackie Gleason Show" as a series of characters who yelled a lot and murdered the English language. One of his most popular characters was Ralph Kramden, a brash, blustering, bumbling bus driver who always bullied his wife, Alice. These sketches became Gleason's most popular show, "The Honeymooners."

Andy Warhol’s Young Death

Andy Warhol used painting, silk screening, photography, film and sculpture to become perhaps the most famous artist of his time and to dominate the American market with his Pop art in the 1960s.

Al Capp’s Li’l Abner

From 1934 to 1977, Al Capp wrote the most-read comic strip in North America, Li'l Abner, about hillbillies in the fictional town of Dogpatch, Kentucky. It had 60 million daily readers in more than 1000 newspapers in 28 countries. Li'l Abner Yokum, a stupid but good-natured hayseed, was the son of...

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...

Emile Zola and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Emile Zola was a famous French writer of the late 19th century and perhaps one of the most honorable and courageous men of all time. He repeatedly risked his life to defend Alfred Dreyfus, an innocent man who was falsely accused by corrupt French military and government officials of spying for...

Major Taylor, First African-American World Champion

At the turn of the 20th century, cyclist Major Taylor became the first African-American sports hero. That was 10 years before Jackie Robinson was even born and 50 years before he broke the color barrier in major-league baseball.

Natalie Cole and Hepatitis C

How would your life have turned out if you: • were the daughter of music legend Nat King Cole and famous singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, • were raised in the affluent Hancock Park district of Los Angeles, • were surrounded by incredible wealth (in a family called "the black Kennedys"), • socialized with...

Paul Hornung: Another Football Great Felled by Dementia

Paul Hornung was better than everyone else on a football field, according to Frank Leahy, his coach at Notre Dame, who said, “He could run through opposing teams like a mower going through grass.” Vince Lombardi, his coach with the Green Bay Packers., said, “Paul Hornung is the greatest player I've ever coached . . ."

Peter Huttenlocher, World-Famous Neurologist

The August 27, 2013 issue of the New York Times contains the obituary of Peter Huttenlocher, who died at age 82 of pneumonia, the result of Parkinson’s disease preventing him from clearing particles from his lungs. Huttenlocher was born in Germany on Feb. 23, 1931, to a chemist father and opera singer mother. They divorced...

Daryl Dragon of The Captain and Tennille

Daryl Dragon was a talented musician with serious medical problems who succeeded in the popular musical entertainment industry because of the incredible love, kindness and patience of his devoted wife, Toni Tennille. He played keyboards and she sang to form the very popular musical duo, The Captain & Tennille, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Rose Knox: Profit from Brittle Nails

Rose Markward was born in Mansfield, Ohio in 1857. At the age of 26, she married a salesman named Charles B. Knox and moved to his hometown of Johnstown, New York, which had many tanneries and therefore also had many slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouse waste — hooves, tendons, intestines and bones — was very cheap, and...

Eva Szekely: Holocaust Survivor to Olympic Champion

Eva Szekely was brought up in Nazi-occupied Hungary in the 1930s and 1940s. During her swimming career from 1940 to 1958, she broke ten world swimming records and five Olympic swimming records, won 44 national titles, Olympic gold in world record time in the 200m breaststroke in 1952 and a silver in the same event at Melbourne in 1956.

Robin Williams and Lewy Body Dementia

We lost one of the greatest comics and actors of our time when Robin Williams took his own life at his home in California on August 11, 2014. When his brain was examined, he was found to have suffered from Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), which has no known cause and no effective treatment.

Jim Fixx, Running Guru

A huge number of studies have shown that running helps to prevent heart attacks, so I couldn't believe the news that running guru Jim Fixx had died of a heart attack at age 52 after his daily run in Hardwick, Vermont. He was the guy who made running popular, healthful, and desirable.

E.L. Doctorow: Tobacco Claims Another Victim

E.L. Doctorow was a best-selling author whose stories often showed how past experiences influence present behavior and how people fail to learn from their mistakes or the mistakes of others. On July 21, 2015, he died of lung cancer at age 84, after a lifetime of heavy smoking. Nearly 90 percent of...

Marit Bjorgen, Cross Country Skier

Marit Bjorgen was born in 1980 and is the most successful female cross-country skier of all time, winning world-championship short-sprint races as well as those in all the longer-endurance races. She has won six Olympic gold medals, 18 FIS World Ski Championship gold medals, 110 individual FIS World-Cup gold medals, and 29 (the most ever) gold medals in Cross-Country World Cup sprints.

Elie Wiesel, Messenger to Mankind

Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-American Jewish writer, professor and the author of more than 50 books. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to show the world its moral responsibility to fight hatred, racism and genocide.

Ingrid Bergman’s Breast Cancer

Ingrid Bergman was one of the best actresses ever. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmys, four Golden Globes and a Tony Award for Best Actress. Many of her more than 50 films are among the most popular films of all time: Intermezzo (1939), Casablanca (1942), Notorious (1946), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1950), Spellbound...

King George III: Porphyria, Gout and Lead Poisoning

If you think that the Boston Tea Party caused the American Revolution, think again. The war was caused by a hereditary disease, an attack of gout and lead in wine.

Garry Shandling’s High Blood Calcium

A blood calcium test is one of the routine blood tests done on normal physical exams. If your doctor ever tells you that your blood calcium is high, make sure that you find a cause. The most common cause of high blood calcium is a parathyroid tumor, which usually can be removed and you are cured. Otherwise it can harm and even kill you.

Winston Churchill, the Most Influential Man of the 20th Century

During World War II, Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill saved the free world with his inspirational speeches and by refusing to hand Britain over to Hitler, even though some members of the royal family and Parliament wanted to surrender their country.

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...

Tom Fleming, Marathoner Who Out-Trained Everyone Else

How could Tom Fleming have died of a heart attack at the very young age of 65, when at one time, he was one of the best marathon runners in the world? Fleming won the New York City Marathon twice, finished second in the Boston Marathon twice, won the Jersey Shore Marathon three times, and also the Los Angeles, Toronto, Tokyo, Washington, Cleveland and Jersey Shore Marathons.

Ted Corbitt, the Father of Long Distance Running

Ted Corbitt ran more miles in training, often up to 200 miles a week, than any runner I ever heard of, yet his fastest time in a marathon was a mediocre 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds, almost 24 minutes slower than the present world record for that distance. Corbitt competed in 199 marathons and ultra-marathons and made the 1952 United States Olympic marathon team.

J. Michael Lane: Will the COVID-19 Pandemic Last as Long as Smallpox?

J. Michael Lane was an epidemiologist who spent most of his life as probably the major player in helping to eradicate the smallpox virus. He traveled to Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other countries to combat outbreaks and create vaccination programs.