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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.

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.

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.

Ray Charles, The Genius

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Jim Fixx, Running Guru

I couldn't believe 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. He sold more than a million copies of his book The Complete Book of Running, published in 1977. He was a close friend and had been a guest on my radio show.

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.

Hank Williams and Spina Bifida

Hank Williams was one of the America's most influential singers and songwriters, with 11 number-one and 35 Top-10 songs on the Western Best Sellers list. In a recording career that lasted only six years, he wrote and performed classics we still hear today such as "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hey Good Lookin'," "I Saw the Light", "Cold, Cold Heart", "Jambalaya" and many more.

Clark Gable’s Heart Attacks

Clark Gable had just about every known lifestyle risk factor for the heart attack that killed him at the very young age of 59. Perhaps best known for his role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939), he was the leading man in more than 60 motion pictures and was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Jim Henson and Toxic Shock Syndrome

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. In 1990 Henson died at age 54 from complications from a bacterial streptococcal infection called toxic shock...

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Doctors Vindicated 40 Years after Her Death

Each year, more than 100,000 North Americans die from medical mistakes. In 1962, newspapers reported that Eleanor Roosevelt may have died because her doctors at one of the most respected medical schools in the world did not diagnose her infection with tuberculosis early enough.

Brian Piccolo and Testicular Cancer

In 1969, Brian Piccolo was a 26-year-old fullback for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He died from that disease in 1970. He was immortalized in "Brian's Song", the movie of his life that was first released in 1971 and remade in...