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Home Deaths of Famous People

Deaths of Famous People

Dallas McCarver, Bodybuilder, Dead at Age 26

At age 21, Dallas McCarver won the IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championship to become the youngest professional bodybuilder ever to win a pro qualifier competition. In the next five years, he grew to weigh 300 pounds on 6'1" frame, won many bodybuilding competitions, and became well-known as one of the strongest and most dedicated professional bodybuilders in the world.

Wilt Chamberlain’s Heart Attack

Wilt Chamberlain was possibly the greatest basketball player and the greatest athlete ever. The 63-year-old Wilt Chamberlain was reported to have died of a heart attack.

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.

What Killed Mario Lanza at Age 38?

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.

Why Did Ultimate Warrior Die at 54?

The Ultimate Warrior, one of the most famous professional wrestlers of all time, died of a heart attack at the very young age of 54 on April 8, 2014, just days after he was inducted into the World Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was walking to his car with his wife outside a...

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.

Rich Piana: Why Do So Many Bodybuilders Die Young?

In August 2017, the world-famous body builder Rich Piana collapsed from a heart attack while his girlfriend was giving him a haircut. He died after two weeks in a medically-induced coma, at the age of 46. A search of his apartment revealed more than 20 bottles of steroids.

Edith Piaf, Old Too Young

Edith Piaf was a French cabaret singer who became famous throughout the world during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. She captivated listeners with her sad, seemingly autobiographical songs of lost love, sorrow and deprivation.

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."

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.

Audrey Hepburn’s Rare Cancer

Audrey Hepburn was a movie star, ballet dancer, model and humanitarian who suffered such extreme starvation as a child during the Nazi occupation of Holland that she came out of World War II weighing only 88 pounds in a 5'6" frame. She was extremely thin all her life. She died at age 63 of a very rare cancer of her appendix.

Ilya Metchnikoff: Yogurt, Aging and Auto-Intoxication

This is the story of a world-famous scientist who noticed that the Hunzas of Kashmir and the Georgians in Eastern Europe lived to very old age, that they ate yogurt every day, and that yogurt is loaded with lactobacilli bacteria.

Doris Day and Pneumonia in Older People

Doris Day was the top box-office movie star earner in the United States four times and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Legend Award from the Society of Singers, and the 1989 Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. At age 97, she died suddenly of pneumonia, a lung infection characterized by cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

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.

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.

Ray Charles, The Genius

Ray Charles was an incredibly talented singer and composer of jazz, blues, gospel, and country music.

C.W. Post, Entrepreneur and Huckster

C.W. Post was a brilliant huckster who invented Grape Nuts and Postum. He founded Post Cereals, which eventually became General Foods, one of the largest processed food  companies in the world.

Bob Hayes, World’s Fastest Human

For many years the world’s fastest human was Bob Hayes, the only man to win Olympic gold medals and a Super Bowl ring, and hold world records in the 60-, 100-, and 220-yard dashes and the Olympic 100-meter dash at the same time.

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. 

Johnny Miles Was My Hero

“Unknown Kid Wins the Greatest of All Marathons” -- That was the Boston Post headline in 1926. The most unbelievable upset ever in a major marathon was pulled off by Johnny Miles, a 20 year-old who had never entered a marathon.

Louisa Moritz: Death from “Natural Causes”

Louisa Moritz was a Cuban-American actress who played mostly dumb blonde roles in several films and TV situation comedies. She was best known for her role as Rose in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with Jack Nicholson.

What Killed Babe Ruth at Age 53?

Babe Ruth was arguably the greatest baseball player who ever lived. When he retired from baseball in 1935, he held the record for most home runs (714), had a batting average of .342, batted in 2,213 runs, had a slugging percentage of 690, got on base 47.4 % of the time he batted, scored 2,174 runs, hit for 5,793 total bases, and was walked 2,062 times. Forget about what goes on today. Ruth did all this without taking anabolic steroids.

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.

Peter Snell, Olympian: Can Extreme Exercise Damage the Heart?

Peter Snell was a New Zealand runner who won three gold medals in the 800 and 1500 meter races in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. He also set two Olympic records and seven world records.

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.

The On-and-Off Partnership of Tammy Wynette and George Jones

George Jones and Tammy Wynette, perhaps the most popular married country-singing couple of all time, told us a lot about their marriage and divorce. They were married for only seven years, but they wrote and sang together while they were married and for twenty years after they were divorced.

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

Humphrey Bogart’s Fatal Lifestyle

Humphrey Bogart was one of Hollywood’s most famous actors. In 1942, he starred in Casablanca, which won the 1943 Academy Award for Best Picture, got him nominated for Best Actor and made him the highest paid actor up to that time, with an income of more than $460,000 a year. As a high school student he was expelled from the prestigious Phillips Academy (Andover) for smoking and drinking, and he continued these harmful habits for the rest of his life.

Ron Lester and Morbid Obesity

Ron Lester was a Hollywood actor who became famous for playing Billy Bob, the 500-pound high school football player in the 1999 blockbuster movie, Varsity Blues. He also starred on the WB Television series Popular. At age 30, after his massive obesity had caused him to have four arthroscopic knee surgeries and two "mild" heart attacks, he had gastric bypass surgery and eventually lost 349 pounds, going from 508 pouns down to 159 pounds.