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Home Deaths of Famous People

Deaths of Famous People

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Power of Observation

Students in every medical school hear the same stories heard in every other medical school, but they usually believe that these stories happened to their own professors at their own school. Here is a story that I heard when I was in medical school in the 1950s. DR HOFF’S STORY: Dr. Hebel Hoff was chairman...

Gerhard Hansen and Leprosy

Diana and I just returned from a riverboat/cycling trip with almost 400 other bicyclists from Memphis to New Orleans. We visited the National Hansen's Disease (leprosy) Museum in Carville, Louisiana and learned about Dr. Gerhard Hansen, a Norwegian physician who discovered the bacteria that cause leprosy in 1873. This was the first bacterium to...

Nico’s Senseless Death

Nico (Christa Päffgen), one of the most fascinating entertainers of the 1960s, was born in 1938 in Cologne, Germany to a Yugoslavian father and a Spanish mother. Her early life was nothing but trauma.

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.

Chyna Laurer’s Destructive Choices

Chyna Laurer was a wrestler, bodybuilder and actress who wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as the Ninth Wonder of the World. She often wrestled with men and beat them. In 1999 she became the first, and still the only, woman to win the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Intercontinental Championship.

Simon Ramo Did Everything Right

On June, 27, 2016, aerospace pioneer Simon Ramo died at 103 years of age. His quality of life never deteriorated with old age. He played tennis regularly on his seven-acre estate in Beverly Hills.

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.

Mickey Mantle and Liver Cancer

Mickey Mantle went from extreme poverty in Oklahoma to become the superstar center fielder of the New York Yankees of the 1950s and 1960s, and arguably the greatest switch hitter in the history of baseball. He hit 536 home runs and had the highest stolen base percentage.

Freud and Dreams

For 50 years, Freud was one of the most revered scientists on earth. Then researchers discovered neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass messages from one nerve to another. They found that people who hallucinate and are not able to think clearly are schizophrenic because their brains make too much dopamine or glutamate, and that people are depressed because their brains make too little norepinephrine and serotonin;

Waylon Jennings’ Years of Pain

Twenty years ago this week we lost Waylon Jennings, one of the all-time great voices of country music.  Jennings was a 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 many of the most popular artists of his time including Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson and Mel Tillis.

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.

Einstein’s Brilliant Life and Needless Death

Albert Einstein is arguably the most famous and brilliant physicist of all time. In 1933, when he was 54, he held the prestigious title of tenured professor at the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

John Nash: A Beautiful Mind Dies

On May 23, 2015, John Nash and his wife were killed while riding in a taxi on the New Jersey Turnpike. The driver hit a guardrail and another car, and the Nashes, who were not wearing seatbelts, were thrown from the taxi. John Nash was 86 and Alicia Nash was 83. Nash...

Itzhak Perlman and Polio

Itzhak Perlman is arguably the most brilliant and beloved violinist of the 20th century and so far in the 21st. He is also so knowledgeable and coordinated that he has conducted many major orchestras. This is incredible because both of his legs are paralyzed from an attack of polio contracted at age...

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.

Ron Clarke and High Altitude

Australian runner Ron Clarke died this year from an event that occurred at the Olympics in Mexico City 47 years ago. Clarke was one of the greatest distance runners who ever lived, even though he never won an Olympic gold medal. He was my hero when I competed in long distance races in the 1960s,...

My Favorite Poet, Edgar Allan Poe

Halloween is a good time to think about ghosts and spooky deaths. I think that the greatest poem for Halloween is The Raven, written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1845. It’s my favorite poem. Every sentence is a metaphor to teach us about philosophy, sadness, death, fatalism and life. Every word has a musical tone.

Clyde Lovellette: Size Plus Skill

Clyde Lovellette was the first basketball player to be on teams that won N.C.A.A. and National Basketball Association championships and Olympic gold medals. At 6' 9" and 245 pounds, Lovellette was probably the first of basketball's big men to show exceptional athleticism, speed and strength. On March 9, 2016 at age 86, he died of stomach cancer.

Glenn Frey: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis

Glenn Frey was the lead singer, songwriter and guitar, piano, and keyboard player in The Eagles, the great rock band that he had co-founded in 1971. In the 1980s the band broke up and he went on to sing on his own. In 1994, The Eagles got back together and were as famous as ever. At age 52, Frey developed two autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. In January 2016, at the too-young age of 67, Frey died with pneumonia and other complications of these autoimmune diseases.

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.

Eartha Kitt: Colon Cancer Even with Low Risk

When Eartha Kitt died at age 81 of colon cancer, her daughter said that, "she ate huge amounts of vegetables and their house in Beverly Hills had a huge vegetable garden as well as an aviary with chickens and roosters.

Florence Nightingale and Bipolar Disorder

Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing, reformed the British public health system, improved military medicine and dedicated her life to caring for the sick. She earned her reputation by caring for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. In 1854, she arrived in Turkey with a group of 38 volunteer nurses that she had trained.

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.

George Jones – Sad Life, Sad Songs

George Jones lived and sang about sorrow and poverty, and became one of the greatest country music singers of all time, He recorded more than 900 songs and charted the most country hits, paying the price of spending a tremendous amount of time on the road,

Dmitri Mendeleev, Father of the Periodic Table

Dmitri Mendeleev developed the Periodic Table that organized all of the chemical elements known at that time and many that were not yet known. He placed them in their correct order by their number of atoms (not their weight) and predicted elements that would be discovered in the future. It is...

Rafer Johnson, Olympic Decathlete, Dies from Stroke

Rafer Johnson was one of America’s greatest athletes. He was the world record holder and 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, having won silver in the 1956 Olympics and also gold in the 1955 Pan American Games. He was the star of his Kingsburg High School's football, baseball and basketball teams and won the 1953 and 1954 California state high school decathlon championships.

Larry King, a Life of 60,000 Interviews

As his doctor and friend, I knew Larry King as the hardest working person I have ever met. He hosted a nightly national Mutual Broadcasting System talk show on 500 radio stations from 1978 to 1994, which were rebroadcast until 2010.

Ignaz Semmelweis, Antiseptic Pioneer

One of the saddest stories of a prophet who was treated as a quack by his contemporaries is that of Ignaz Semmelweis. In 1847, at age 29, he was the chief obstetrician in charge of two maternity clinics in a hospital in Vienna. The first clinic was at a medical school...

Chris Klug, the Bravest Olympian

On February 15, 2002 in one of the most amazing feats of courage and athleticism, Chris Klug of the United States placed third in the Giant Slalom of Snowboarding at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City — eighteen months after receiving someone else’s liver to replace his liver that was destroyed by a...

Burt Reynolds’ Heart Attack

Burt Reynolds was a famous film and television star, producer, and director who had it all. He was extremely good looking, incredibly popular with the ladies, a gifted movie star who could be absolutely hilarious, a college scholarship athlete who was a potential All-American, and a much sought-after actor who became fabulously wealthy.