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Deaths of Famous People

Joe Madison, The Black Eagle

Joe Madison was an outstanding talk-radio host who was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2019. He called himself “The Black Eagle” and used talk radio to advocate for racial tolerance, starting when he joined the otherwise all-white lineup at WWRC-AM radio in the early 1990s. He was a close friend of mine as I did a daily talk show on health, fitness and nutrition on the same station during the peak popularity of talk radio. We remained friends and communicated long after the station changed its format in 1998.

Toby Keith and Stomach Cancer

Toby Keith was a country music singer, songwriter, record producer, actor and an incredible business entrepreneur who recorded 26 albums that sold more than 40 million copies. He had 61 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, with 20 number one hits and 22 additional top 10 hits. His best known songs include "Beer for My Horses," "As Good as I Once Was," "Should've Been a Cowboy," "Red Solo Cup," and "How Do You Like Me Now." He received a National Medal of Arts from President Trump in 2021.

Leonard Bernstein’s Asthma and Heart Failure

Leonard Bernstein was one of America’s greatest composers and conductors. He was a pianist, arranger, educator, author and television personality, and wrote some of our best-loved musicals: West Side Story, Candide, and On The Town.

Charles Osgood, TV and Radio Host

Charles Osgood was a brilliant radio and TV host who died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was best known for being the host of CBS News Sunday Morning TV show for 22 years, from April 1994 until September 2016, and of daily radio reports, “The Osgood File,” for 46 years, from 1971 until 2017. He was probably suffering from memory lapses when he announced his retirement as anchor of Sunday Morning, about eight years before his death.

Robert Oppenheimer, Father of the Atomic Bomb

The film Oppenheimer is scheduled to be released on July 21, 2023, by Universal Pictures. It describes the emotional price Robert Oppenheimer paid for creating the atomic bomb.  Seventy-five years ago, on August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States detonated two atom bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing between 129,000 and 226,000 people.

Adan Canto: Cancer of the Appendix

Adan Canto was a Mexican- born American actor in television series includimg “The Cleaning Lady”, “The Following”, “Designated Survivor”, “Narcos” and “Blood and Oil." He played Sunspot in the movie “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and he wrote and directed the films “Before Tomorrow and “The Shot”.

Frank Ryan, Great Quarterback and Brilliant Mathematician

Frank Ryan was an all-star quarterback in the National Football League in his 13 years primarily with the Cleveland Browns, and he was also an outstanding mathematician. He received his bachelor degree in physics and his Ph.D. in mathematics from prestigious Rice University. From 1967 to 1971 was a math professor at Case Western Reserve, often teaching math classes in the morning and going to football practice with the Cleveland Browns in the afternoon.

Tom Smothers of The Smothers Brothers

Tom Smothers and his brother, Dick, were known as “The Smothers Brothers”, a music, comedy and political statement team whose hit television show was the 16th most popular show on television in its first season. It ran on CBS television from 1965 through 1970, when the network abruptly cancelled the program, presumably because the brothers took strong stands on recreational drugs, sex, the Vietnam War and other topics that were heavily censored.

Francoise Gilot: Life with Picasso

Francoise Gilot was an accomplished French artist whose works included more than 1,600 paintings. She was appointed an Officer of the Légion d'honneur, the French government's highest honor for the arts. She died in a New York City hospital on June 6 2023 at the age of 101, after suffering serious heart and lung disease. Her portraits are featured in more than a dozen leading museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Ryan O’Neal: Remembering “Love Story”

Ryan O'Neal was a very famous Hollywood film actor and television star who will be remembered most for his role in Love Story (1970), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama. He also starred in What's Up, Doc? (1972), Paper Moon (1973), which earned him another Golden Globe nomination, Barry Lyndon (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977), The Driver (1978), and many others.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Relationships Among Dementia Patients

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States and was also the first female majority leader of a state senate, as a Republican in Arizona. She did everything better than her peers and opened doors for women to be successful in these professions that were dominated by men.

Henry Kissinger, Centenarian

In 1938, when he was 15, Henry Kissinger's family escaped from Nazi Germany and came to the United States. They were so poor that he attended a New York high school at night and worked in a shaving brush factory during the day. At age 20, he was drafted into the U.S. army. He spoke German fluently and even though he was a private, the lowest rank in the army, he was put in charge of the administration of the conquered city of Krefeld.

Bobby Knight, Legendary Basketball Coach

Bobby Knight was one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 as the coach of college teams that won 902 games and lost 371. At Indiana University from 1971 to 2000, his teams won three NCAA championships, one National Invitational Tourney and 11 Big Ten Conference championships.

Merle Haggard: Be Good to Your Lungs

Merle Haggard was a legendary country music singer and guitar player with 38 songs that reached number one on the country charts, and 71 in the top ten. We have lost another great musical talent to the ravages of lung cancer and pneumonia, brought on by this generation's horrible treatment of their lungs.

John Nuttall, Distance Runner, Dies of Heart Attack at 56

John Nuttall was a British long-distance runner who competed at the highest Olympic and international levels until he was 31, ran in competitive races until he was 40 and coached world-class international runners until he died of a heart attack at age 56. How could a fit and heathy runner die of a heart attack at such a young age? Research evidence shows that exercise strengthens the heart, helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes, and prolongs lives

Matthew Perry’s Addictions

Matthew Perry was an American and Canadian actor who became famous as Chandler Bing on the NBC-TV sitcom “Friends,” which ran from 1994-2004 and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy. Perry made it through all 10 seasons and 236 episodes in spite of being routinely drunk and high or hungover on set, especially during the later shows.

Richard Roundtree: Breast Cancer in Men and Pancreatic Cancer

Actor Richard Roundtree was the first black-action-movie-star hero, playing private detective John Shaft in the 1971 film Shaft and its sequels. He has been credited with changing the way black men were portrayed in films. In 1993, at age 51, he was diagnosed with breast cancer and had his left breast removed all the way to his armpit.

Terry Dischinger and Dementia

Terry Dischinger was an All-American college basketball player at Purdue, averaging 28 points per game, and a 2019 inductee into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. At age 19, he was a member of the United States men's 1960 Olympic championship basketball team. He went on to play basketball for nine years in the NBA, where he was a three-time NBA All-Star and the 1963 NBA Rookie of the Year.

Suzanne Somers and Breast Cancer

Suzanne Somers was a famous actress who is remembered for her roles on the popular TV sitcoms Three's Company and Step by Step. She was also a best-selling author, singer, promoter of beauty products and spokesperson for various alternative health treatments. On October 15, 2023, Suzanne Somers died of breast cancer the day before her 77th birthday. She was first diagnosed with stage II breast cancer twenty-three years earlier and was treated with surgery, radiation and other treatments, some conventional and some controversial.

Dick Butkus and Heart Disease in Athletes

Dick Butkus played football for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1973 and was regarded as one of the greatest, fiercest and most intimidating linebackers in professional football history. He played in eight Pro Bowls, was named a first-team All-Pro six times, and twice was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. He was voted NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Brooks Robinson, Heart Disease and Prostate Cancer

On September 26, 2023, Baltimore Orioles baseball great Brooks Robinson died from heart disease at age 86. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 72, but most people with prostate cancer do not die from their cancer, they die primarily from heart disease. Heart disease and prostate cancer have the same risk factors

Otzi the Iceman and 5,300 Years of 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.

Steve Harwell: Brain Damage from Alcohol

Steve Harwell was lead vocalist for the rock band Smash Mouth from its formation in 1994 until his retirement in 2021. He produced three top hit songs: "Walkin' on the Sun," "All Star" and “I’m a Believer." He and the band sold more than 10 million albums and had two #1 hit singles, five Top 40 singles, three Hot 100 singles, four Billboard 200 albums and a Grammy nomination. The band also appeared on hundreds of film and television placements and was featured on “Shrek.”

Jimmy Buffett’s Merkel Cell Skin Cancer

Jimmy Buffett was a famous singer and ukelele and guitar player who combined country, rock, folk, calypso and pop music. His top hits that he wrote and sang were "Margaritaville" and "Come Monday," and he had nine platinum albums and eight gold albums.He was also a businessman who was worth more than $1 billion from an incredible number of investments, including restaurant chains named after two of his best-known songs, the Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants.

Tori Bowie, Signals for Help

Tori Bowie was a world-famous track and field star who won three medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio: a gold medal in 4X100 meter relay, a silver medal in 100 meters and a bronze medal in 200 meters. She also won gold medals in 100 meters and the 4x100 meter relay at the 2017 London World Championships, and a bronze medal in 100 meters at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. At age 32, on May 2, 2023, her dead body was found in her home and her autopsy reported that she had died several days earlier during labor, possibly from eclampsia.

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.

Robbie Robertson and Prostate Cancer

Robbie Robertson was a Canadian musician who played lead guitar and sang and wrote songs for Bob Dylan in the 1960s and 1970s, and with “The Band” until 1978. Then he continued his successful career as a solo recording artist and film music composer, and wrote books. He worked on films with Martin Scorsese as an actor and music writer, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canada's Walk of Fame, and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Sinead O’Connor and Mental Illness

Sinead O'Connor was a very successful and popular Irish singer and musician who in 1987, at age 21, released her debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” that made her famous internationally. Her second album, released in 1990, “I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got,” sold more than seven million copies throughout the world and included "Nothing Compares 2 U", which was voted the top single by Billboard Music Awards and earned her a Grammy Award.

Marian Anderson, a Voice that Made History

In 1930, 33-year-old Marian Anderson responded to this discrimination by going to Europe where she was acclaimed as one of world's greatest singers. Back in the United States in 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) would not allow the now world-famous contralto to give a concert in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Because of this, Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR and asked her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to have Harold L. Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, open the Lincoln Memorial for Anderson to perform a concert on Easter Sunday.

Lisa Marie Presley’s Cause of Death

Lisa Marie Presley died from scar tissue from weight loss surgery. She died on January 12, 2023 at the very young age of 54, from intestinal obstruction caused by previous scar tissue from her gastric-bypass weight loss surgery that was supposed to prevent food from passing through her stomach. The original reports of her death listed the cause as cardiac arrest, and these autopsy findings have just recently been released.