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Home Deaths of Famous People

Deaths of Famous People

Charlie Daniels and Hemorrhagic Strokes

We have lost another country music legend -- Charlie Daniels died on July 6, 2020, at age 83.  He was a singer, songwriter and fiddler who was most famous for writing and performing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." He was elected to the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, the Musicians Hall of Fame...

Gordie Howe, the Toughest Athlete

National Hockey League All-Star Gordie Howe was arguably the best hockey player ever because he was stronger, faster and more pugnacious than everyone else. He played professional hockey for fifty years.

Dick Buerkle and Multiple Systems Atrophy

Dick Buerkle ran 3:54.93 to break the world record in the men's indoor mile in 1978, and earned places on the 1976 and 1980 U.S. Olympic teams. From age 12 onward, he had suffered considerable taunting from his classmates because he lost all the hair on his head.

Vera Lynn, the Forces’ Sweetheart

If you were alive during World War II, you probably remember Vera Lynn as the "Forces' Sweetheart" of Great Britain’s resistance to Nazi Germany -- but you don't have to be that old to recognize her songs.

Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers

Harold Reid was the bass singer of the Statler Brothers, one of the most successful vocal harmony groups in the history of country music. They moved gospel harmonies into popular country music.

Zachary Taylor’s Salmonella

Zachary Taylor became the 12th president of the United States after being a national hero as the major general who led the United States to victory in the Mexican–American War in 1848.. He ran on the platform to preserve the union in its battles over slavery. He died after only sixteen months in office.

Christopher Reeve: Heart Failure from Muscle Loss

Christopher Reeve was a BAFTA-award-winning movie actor best known as the 6'4" athletic Superman and his bumbling counterpart, Clark Kent.

Dr. Robert Atkins, King of Low-Carb Diets

Robert Atkins was a cardiologist who wrote The Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution books, promoting his weight-loss program that severely restricts carbohydrates and recommends fats and protein as the primary sources of calories.

Phyllis George and Polycythemia Rubra Vera

Phyllis George was named “Miss Texas” at age 21 in 1970, quickly followed by winning "Miss America." At age 25, She became famous as the most prominent woman is sports broadcasting, co-hosting the National Football league’s weekly pregame show with Brent Musburger, Irv Cross and Jimmy the Greek.

Richard Feynman, Physicist and Humorist

Feynman was one of the greatest theoretical physicists of all time. He helped to develop the atomic bomb during World War II and solved the mystery of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. He won the 1965 Nobel Prize in physics for his discoveries in quantum electrodynamics.

Eugene O’Neill’s Guilt and Death

When you were in school, you may have read some of Eugene O’Neill’s more than 50 plays, such as Long Day's Journey into Night, Desire Under the Elms, or A Moon for the Misbegotten. He was the only American playwright to ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

President Harrison Didn’t Die from Not Wearing a Hat

William Henry Harrison was a U.S. military officer and politician who died of pneumonia 31 days into his term, to become the first president to die in office. He was 68 years and 23 days old, and at that time, the average life expectancy for a man was only 38 years.

Comparing the COVID-19 Pandemic to the 1918-1920 Flu Pandemic

It appears that the current COVID-19 pandemic will not be anywhere near as harmful as the swine flu influenza pandemic of 1918-1920 that started near the end of World War I, infected 500 million people, and killed about 39 million people, which was 2.3 percent of the world’s population of 1.7 billion people at that time.

Can You Die from Fear? The Baskerville Effect

You better believe that you can be scared to death. The “Felony Murder Rule” allows prosecutors in all 50 states to bring first-degree murder charges against a defendant if someone dies during a crime such as burglary, rape, or kidnapping, even if the defendant did not intend to kill the victim.

Joe Diffie and Many Other Musicians Have Died from COVID-19

I have no data to show that popular musicians are at greater risk of death from COVID-19 than the general population, but we note the headlines marking the passing of many beloved artists just in the past few days.

Charles Darwin and Panic Disorder

Charles Darwin was one of the most influential scientists of all time. He was the first person to clearly define evolution as selective breeding in which favorable variations in an organism are passed on, and unfavorable variations are dropped, so that the species on earth today have gradually evolved from common ancestors.

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

Kenny Rogers recorded 65 albums, sold more than 165 million records, was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and sang more than 120 hit singles that were the top recordings in the country for a total of more than 200 weeks.

Bobbie Battista and Cervical Cancer

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.

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.

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.

Jim Henson and Toxic Shock Syndrome

Fifty years ago, Jim Henson created the Muppets, the world's most famous puppets, for the children's educational television show, Sesame Street. He won two Emmy Awards for his work, and sold his company to Walt Disney for $150 million. The beloved show has produced more than 4500 episodes.

Paul English: Why Pneumonia is Such a Common Cause of Death in Seniors

Paul English was Willie Nelson's drummer and best friend for nearly sixty years. In 2014, English told a Rolling Stone writer that Willie Nelson had saved his life, saying, "If I hadn’t gone with Willie, I would be in the penitentiary or dead."

Kirk Douglas: 23 Years of Rehabilitation After a Stroke

Kirk Douglas, who died at 103 on February 5, 2020, was one of the 20th century’s most famous actors. He starred in more than 90 movies and earned three Academy Award nominations, received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 from President Jimmy Carter, and an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1996.

President John F. Kennedy: Should Health Records Be Released?

John F. Kennedy was probably the sickest U.S. President ever. He suffered from a disease called Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome, which was not described until 1981, 18 years after he was assassinated (Medicine, 1981;60(5):355-62). This disease made him miserable by knocking off his thyroid and adrenal glands, and probably his parathyroid glands also.

Can Hair Turn Grey Overnight?

Marie Antoinette and Sir Thomas More were both reported to have had their hair turn gray on the nights before their executions. However, hair is dead skin, so it can’t possibly change color. Grey hair means that you have a mixture of white and pigmented hairs. The only way that hair could change color overnight would be to have most of your darker hairs fall out suddenly, leaving only the white hairs.

David Olney: CPR for a Heart Attack

David Olney was a famous singer-songwriter who released more than 20 albums and wrote songs with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Young, Del McCoury, Laurie Lewis and many others.

John Havlicek: Parkinson’s Disease in Athletes

John Havlicek was one of the most gifted athletes ever.  Over 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics from 1962-1978, he scored 26,395 points, averaged 20.8 points a game, was named to five NBA all-defensive teams, won eight NBA championships and played in 13 All-Star games. 

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.

Ernest Duchesne, the Father of Antibiotics

Getting credit for a great scientific discovery is sometimes just a matter of luck. You all know that penicillin can be made by fungi to kill bacteria, but most of you do not know the sad story that more than 120 years ago, antibiotics were first discovered by an obscure medical student

Lydia Pinkham and Black Cohosh

Lydia Pinkham’s black cohosh tonic was one of the top selling patent medicines back in 1875, almost 150 years ago, and today many women still buy it to treat their hot flushes of menopause, even though it has been largely discredited by the medical community.  One double-blind study showed that it is no more effective for controlling menopausal hot flushes than a placebo sugar pill.