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Deaths of Famous People

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.

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.

Ray Charles, The Genius

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Franco Columbu, Mr. Olympia

Franco Columbu was considered to be one of the strongest men in the world. He was a bodybuilder, powerlifter, actor, and author who won the Mr. Olympia contest twice and also Mr. Universe, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Europe and Mr. Italy contests. He held several world powerlifting records, and his website states that he achieved a bench press of 525 pounds, a squat of 655 pounds, and dead lift of 750 pounds. These are incredible lifts for a man who was only 5'5" tall and weighed only 185 pounds.

Paul Prudhomme: The Perils of Morbid Obesity

Paul Prudhomme died Thursday, October 8, 2015, at age 75. He was an internationally famous chef and restaurateur who, in the early 1980's, used blackening and spicing of fish and chicken in the Cajun and Creole traditions to build a food empire. He started a cooking craze that spread worldwide through his...

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.

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.

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.

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...

Peggy Lipton and Colon Cancer

Peggy Lipton was an American television star, actress, model, and singer who played one of three undercover cops on the popular ABC series, The Mod Squad, from 1968 to 1973. She was nominated for four Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama in 1971.

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.

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.

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.

Elvis Presley: Killed by Inflammation

Elvis Presley sold more records than anyone else in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, and has been inducted into virtually every music hall of fame. He died at the tragically young age of 42. In the last years 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.

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.

Andre the Giant and Acromegaly

Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler who at 7' 4" and 520 pounds, won the World Wrestling Federation individual championship and World Tag Team Championship. He was also an actor in several Hollywood films. His huge size was caused by a pituitary gland brain tumor that produced huge amounts of human growth hormone.

Farrah Fawcett: The Price of Beauty

It may not be so good to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, a famous actress who was a four-time Emmy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe Award nominee and who was ranked by TV Guide as "One of the 50 Greatest TV stars of All-Time". Beautiful, famous women often attract handsome promiscuous men who share their acquired and often incurable infections.

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.

David Koch and Prostate Cancer

David Koch was incredibly gifted, both genetically and financially, and became a chemical engineer, businessman, political activist, and philanthropist. With one of his brothers, he grew a vast inheritance into joint ownership of Koch Industries, and at the time of his death he was the 11th richest person in the world, worth $48 billion.

Naim Suleymanoglu, the Pocket Hercules

Many experts consider Naim Suleymanoglu to be the greatest weightlifter of all time because he set an incredible 46 world records, won three straight Olympic gold medals and won eight world championships.

The Sad Story of Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard sang together to form "The Carpenters", one of the leading singing groups in the 1970s. When she died of heart failure at age 32, she made the world painfully aware of a disease called anorexia nervosa.

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...

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.

John Wayne’s Cancers: Smoking or Radiation?

John Wayne was one of the best-paid actors in Hollywood for more than 40 years, appeared in more than 170 films and starred in 142 films, mostly westerns. His size (6'4" and 225 pounds) and pugnacious behavior helped him to be cast a cowboy, lawman, soldier and athlete, but for most of his life he had a cancer-promoting lifestyle.

Waylon Jennings’ Years of Pain

Waylon Jennings was a country singer and songwriter who rose from poverty to great wealth and fame, with 54 albums and 96 singles listed among the top sellers between 1966 and 2002. He gave concerts and recorded with most of the popular artists of his time including Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Bobby...