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Home Deaths of Famous People

Deaths of Famous People

The Baskerville Effect

In 2009, a Charlotte, N.C., man was charged with first-degree murder for scaring a 79-year-old woman to death. After attempting to rob a bank, a young man broke into and hid in the home of 79-year-old Mary Parnell. He did not touch her, but scared her so much that she suffered a heart attack...

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.

President Eisenhower Changed the Way Doctors Treat Heart Attacks

On Sept 23, 1955, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was staying at his in-laws’ house in Denver and went to play golf at the Cherry Hills Country Club. There he suddenly developed pain in his chest and belly. That evening, he had dinner with his physician, Major General Howard Scrum Snyder, and went to bed early, still complaining of pain.

King George III: Porphyria, Gout and Lead Poisoning

If you think that the Boston Tea Party caused the American Revolution, think again. The war was caused by a hereditary disease, an attack of gout and lead in wine.

Tom Hayden’s Life of Protest

Tom Hayden was a radical protester and California politician who was widely despised for his anti-Vietnam War activities. On October 23, 2016, he died at age 76 of heart failure brought on by a lifetime of doing everything imaginable to cause the diabetes that destroyed arteries and nerves throughout his body.

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.

Roger Moore’s Many Medical Problems

Roger Moore was an English film and television star who was most famous for having played secret agent James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. In 1991, he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for his work helping underprivileged children. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

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.

Linus Pauling and Prostate Cancer

Linus Pauling died at age 93 of prostate cancer, a disease that affects virtually 100 percent of North American men over age 90. He was one of the most influential chemists of all time, and also a peace activist, author, and educator. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the...

Patty Duke: A Bipolar Life

Patty Duke was an abused young girl who became a famous TV, movie and Broadway actress, an accomplished singer, a television producer and a social activist for mental health. She was a great female role model as the mother of three children, who worked so hard that she became president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Robin Williams and Lewy Body Dementia

On August 11, 2014, we lost one of the greatest comics and actors of our time when Robin Williams took his own life at his home in California. He was 63. At the time of his death, there was a lot of speculation about his recent depression. His wife had not yet released the news that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and later, when his brain was examined, he was found to have suffered from Lewy Body Dementia.

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.

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...

Munchausen’s Syndrome

Most doctors must deal occasionally with patients who fake illness to get attention. This is called Munchausen’s Syndrome, which affects about four percent of people in North America

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.

Tom Hanks, Diabetes and YoYo Dieting

Tom Hanks' films have grossed more than $4.2 billion in the United States and Canada, and more than $8.4 billion worldwide. He is the highest grossing actor of all-time with an average of $107 million per film. Seventeen of his films have grossed more than $100 million. Hanks has...

Otzi the Iceman and the Diseases of Inflammation

In 1991, hikers in the Italian Alps discovered Otzi the Iceman, a man who was preserved in ice after his murder about 5,300 years ago. He was killed by a hard hit on his head and an arrow through his shoulder when he was about 46 years old. He is now entombed at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy with a life-size statue of him as he may have looked standing nearby.

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...

Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Heart Attacks

On January 22, 1973, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, died at his ranch in Johnson City, Texas, at age 65 from what was probably his fifth heart attack. He was one of the hardest-working presidents ever and could have lived much longer if he had changed the lifestyle factors that caused his first heart attack at age 47.

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;

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...

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.

Nancy Reagan, First Lady with Many Causes

Nancy Reagan was a film actress and First Lady from 1981 to 1989 as the wife of Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. She is perhaps best remembered for her courageous role as spokesperson and primary caregiver during her husband's 10 year battle with Alzheimer's disease. Caring for him wore her out physically and emotionally and she became much less active. She died of heart failure at age 94.

Raoul Dufy’s Rheumatoid Arthritis

Raoul Dufy, one of the most popular painters of the early 20th century, produced more than 6000 paintings that featured themes of happiness, luxury and pleasure. He was one of the first people with rheumatoid arthritis to be treated with cortisone and died from its side effects less than three years after he started...

Charles Bradley and Stomach Cancer

Soul singer Charles Bradley died of stomach cancer on September 23, 2017 at the very young age of 68. As you read his life story, you will cry just as I did, because of the incredible hardships this man overcame to eventually become a famous singer. His soulful moaning and yelling came from a man who spent much of his life alone, even sleeping on the streets, and was plagued by illiteracy, poverty and lack of a steady job.

Barry Marshall, from Quack to Nobel Prize

In 1983, Barry Marshall and John Warren presented a paper to the Australian Gastroenterological Society claiming that stomach ulcers are caused by infection. They never finished their paper because they were laughed off the stage. Barry Marshall became so upset that he swallowed a vial of the bacteria taken from a patient who had stomach ulcers, went into shock and almost died.

Horace Fletcher, the Great Masticator

Horace Fletcher was known as "The Great Masticator," who said "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate." More than 100 years ago, in 1913, his book Fletcherism tried to convince people to chew their food to a liquid pulp. He claimed that this would help to control weight and prevent diabetes.

Eva Peron and Cervical Cancer

From 1945 to 1952, Eva Peron was the wife of Juan Peron, the most powerful man in Argentina. When she first met him, he was a general who seized the dictatorship of the country. She was the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and his mistress.

Marion Barry, Washington’s ‘Mayor for Life’, Dead at 78

As four-time mayor of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry helped to create a city that helped the poor and disadvantaged. His programs created jobs for people out of work (many got their first jobs through his programs); allocated city contracts specifically for minorities (in 1980, 35 percent of city contracts were awarded to minority-owned firms);...

Mal Whitfield, Olympian and Tuskegee Airman

Mal Whitfield was twice Olympic champion at 800 meters and one of America's greatest track and field athletes ever. Whitfield set six world records, won eight United States national titles, was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1974 and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1988.