Richard Pryor – Multiple Sclerosis, Cardiac Arrest and Guns Don't Kill Cars

The famous Richard Pryor stare

Many have rightly labelled Richard Pryor as a comic genius. The American, who shot to fame in the late 1960s with his course stand up routines became famous for speaking his mind on matters ranging from race and politics to health and sex.

Some of this most popular shows include ‘… Is It Something I Said?’ and ‘Live On The Sunset Strip’. Richard may well be remembered as a controversial comic with a foul mouth from which cascaded profanity and scorn, but he also made the break into the acting industry where he sustained a long and successful career.

And that star-studded career was at a peak for more than two decades; comedians who followed Pryor often admitted to aspiring to his heights and career-wise he was an absolute beacon.

He was the Charlie Parker of comedy, a master of telling the truth that influenced every comedian that came after him,” said Quincy Jones as he paid tribute to Pryor shortly after his death.

The legacy that he leaves will forever be with us.”

Richard Pryor

Her personal life was a stark contrast to his professional career, married seven times to five women, it was also well recorded that Richard was partial to drugs and had been involved in domestic violence disputes.

The comic who died aged 65, reportedly shot at his wife’s car with a Magnum .357 in 1978 while she tried to leave him. It became one ofhis most famous domestic disputes and one which he included in his stand-up routineas part of the ‘Wanted/Richard Pryor – Live In Concert’ show

They got Magnums too,” he said of the police. “But they don’t kill cars. They kill nig-gars.”

He hit the headlines again in 1980 when, after a cocaine binge, he doused himself in rum and set himself a light, the incident highlighting his many personal problems.

Richard has always been a survivor though and has lived through two heart attacks and quadruple bypass surgery. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis [MS] in 1986 and although at first he was given no indication of what lay ahead, a few months after the diagnosis he was hit hard by the illness.

To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn’t know what they were talking about and the doctor said `Don’t worry, in three months you’ll know.’

So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn’t get up. … Your muscles trick you; they did me.”

Richard Pryor 1979

Although he attempted to continue working it soon became evident that his MS was progressing and he slowly became a mere shadow of himself. He still made cameo appearances and claimed royalties from his classic work but the strictures of his illness all but ended any hopes of working full-time.

After nearly two decades of battling MS, Richard Pryor passed away due to cardiac arrest in December 2005.

Andy Irons died of a heart attack after drug cocktail

Andy Irons

After the saddening and untimely death of world champion surfer, Andy Irons, in November 2010 his family released the results of his autopsy. It was initially thought his death came as a result of Dengue ever but the coroner’s report indicated that he in fact died of a heart attack around 30 hours after taking cocaine.

The toxicology report found a mixture of chemicals in his blood including Xanaxwhich Irons used to help with anxiety and insomnia, as well asbenzoylecgonine, a by-product of cocaine ingestion.

The autopsy was carried out by a Tarrant County medical examiner who ruled out Dengue fever after he discovered a severe blockage of the heart’s main artery which led to a cardiac arrest.

Andy Irons surfing

Irons’ family requested an independent review of the autopsy which was conducted by forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent Di Maio who concluded that Irons had a heart attack due to hardening of the arteries, stating that, “A plaque of this severity, located in the anterior descending coronary artery is commonly associated with sudden death.”

Di Maio also added that Irons was already at a disadvantage due to a genetic predisposition which caused the early onset of artery hardening, a condition normally associated with people nearing their 50s. According to his family, Andy also suffered with typhoid in 2006 which could have added to the problems with his heart.

With heart attack as the primary cause of death the autopsy listed an ‘acute mixed drug ingestion’ as a secondary cause.

The full report was made available on June 20th, 2010 after an injunction to keep the details surrounding his death expired. The records were kept on hold after the family placed the injunction while Andy’s wife Lyndie was pregnant. Given her loss and the additional stress of the pregnancy they felt it best to wait until some time after she had given birth to their son.

rip_andy_irons

Irons pulled out of the Rip Curl Searchsurf contest in Puerto Rico after he came down with flu-like symptoms and was put on an intravenous drip to avoid the risk of dehydration after which he boarded a plane from Miami to his home in Hawaii. For reasons unknown, Andy missed the connecting flight and booked into a Dallas hotel where he passed away in the night.

 

Jessica White overcame drugs to become a humanitarian

Jessica White turns humanitarian

Jessica White was not always the archetypal ‘good girl’, a cocaine OD and an assault charge marring her record, but despite those issues she has stayed positive and counted her blessings to get her through her difficult times.

Her list of plus points includes a starring role in the video for a Kelly Rowland track, the launch of her skincare line, a docu-series which she filmed for Oxygen, and her proudest venture,The Angel Foundation, a philanthropic organization for women.

I’m living out every girl’s dream,” said the former model on the good progress she was making in life.

The trial for the alleged assault loomed large over her and she was charged with misdemeanor assault, fined $490usd (to cover hospital treatment), spend three days in anger management and told to serve two days community service.

I never denied getting into an altercation,” said White. “But people painted me to be the bad girl, which was 110 percent false.”

She maintains it was an act of self-defence. “I was flagging a cab, and she came from behind me and pushed me.”

She refutes claims that she started the fight and has video evidence to corroborate her side of the story. “I didn’t strike her until she hit me in the face. I don’t lash out at innocent people.”

White also says that the incident was not a result of her split with Sean Penn and that she in fact detests violence in all its forms. Having been the victim and witness of abusive relationships stretching back to her childhood she prefers to live a peaceful life.

Jessica White

Jessica White turns humanitarian

At 14 years of age she was molested by a family member, an ordeal that left her shamed, isolated and physically scarred.

I had to go through the hurt secretly,” she said on the subject. “I look at modelling as a saviour, because [it allowed me] to leave and travel to Paris and New York when I could finally relax and be out of the abusive environment.”

Paris seemed like the ideal place to start over but she quickly became lonely and desperate which by the age of 17 led her to an even more destructive relationship with cocaine.

By 20 she had overdosed but the harsh reality of drug addiction helped wake her to the truth of things and through that experience she was able to move on.

I was going to lose everything,” she said. “[I saw my] whole life flash before me. But I was lucky, because I came face to face with evil, and it wasn’t something I liked seeing.”

Her story took a much more positive turn after months of recuperation and she worked hard to mend the bridges she felt she’d burned through overuse of cocaine. She turned to her mother for help and now, free of drugs, sees her as her best friend.

I truly am living out what true joy and happiness means, I’m in the best place possible.”

Whitney Houston Died of Excess

whitney houston

For many it came as no surprise when eighties pop queen Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hills Hilton on the eve of her appearance at the Grammy Awards on February 11, 2012, following years of very public substance abuse.

At the time there was much speculation as to the cause of the 48-year-old’s death and some sources claimed she overdosed on a cocktail of Xanax, variousprescription drugs and alcohol that led to her drowning in the bath.

The official cause of death, as stated by a coroner, was ‘accidental drowning’ but the circumstances leading to that ‘accident’ have never truly been discussed.

Many Whitney Houston fans directed anger and blame at her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, whom they felt was the driving force behind her slow and sad demise. Houston herself admitted to using cannabis long before she met the former New Editionsinger but his arrival in her life coincided with a march down the path of drug dependency, violence and substance abuse which culminated in their divorce.

Whitney Houston in better times

Whitney Houston in better times before she lost her fight against drug and alcohol addiction

On the night of her death, Brown was performing with New Edition, and he told the sell out crowd, “First of all, I want to tell you that I love you all. Second, I would like to say, I love you Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage.”

Born August 9th, 1963, Whitney Houston emerged as a bright talent in the 80s with her eponymous début album which included long standing classics, “Saving All My Love”, “ How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All”.

Her success could have been attributed to her family ties which included major soul stars such as her mother Cissy Houston, aunty Dionne Warwick and her godmother Aretha Franklin – no shortage of stars there – so when she was acknowledged as a rising star at age 15 after her backing vocal performance on Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” it came as no real surprise to see her scale the charts in her own rights.

Whitney was the kind of woman who lived for her music, shone brightly and didn’t crave the same kind of media attention as music industry canvasses such as Madonna and more recently Lady Gaga, until she fell victim to the excesses and trappings that so often come with success.

 

Images:

popbytes.com,

celebritysmackblog.com

Katy Perry's Hard Drug Habits Were Cause For Divorce

Katy Perry in a more glamorous repost

After the dust has settled on Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s ill-fated marriage there are some pointers emerging from the wreckage which indicate that Perry was the real problem at the heart of it all.

According to a close friend of the pair she had become the antithesis of Brand; a man who was publicly battling drug and sex addictions and wanting to make a better life for himself, while she had joined a ‘wild’ crowd who loved to generically snort the old Peruvian marching powder until sunrise and then some.

Hardly wild really when compared to the drug antics of other rock stars who managed to go several days without sleep or food, shagged masses of girls, drive cars into swimming pools and still came out the other side to write some of the greatest records ever to be published.

According the the source, Russell became disillusioned with Katy’s behaviour and called for a swift end to the marriage.

Russell Brand

Russell Brand – the former drug and sex addict cleaned his act up and got shot of Katy Perry due to her habits and cohorts.

 

How is Russell supposed to feel when he hears that his wife is out till all hours of the night?”

He can only assume the worst.”

Brand’s addiction issues have been well documented and the source went on to say, “Russell was a truly horrible addict. It’s a day-by-day struggle for him to stay sober and walk the right path now.”

He’s really turned his life around, and he couldn’t let it be destroyed.”

She went from this sweet, adorable woman that he was madly in love with to a needy person who surrounded herself with hangers-on who were using her.”

She’d throw back tequila shots, chain smoke… and have mood swings. He gave her an ultimatum: ‘Get rid of your hard-partying friends or lose me forever!’”

Clearly the choice was made and Katy is now in what appears to be a similarly destructive relationship while Russell has really cleaned himself up.

Images:

bloggers.com

metro.co.uk

Whitney Houston Dies aged 48

Eighties pop queen Whitney Houston was found dead on Saturday afternoon in her hotel room at the Beverly Hills Hilton on the eve of her appearance at the Grammy Awards.

Much speculation is circulating as to the cause of the 48-year-old’s death with some sources claiming she overdosed on a combination of Xanax and other prescription drugs combined with alcohol that led to her drowning in the bath.

As of yet no official cause of death has been given but speculation will continue due to her record with substance abuse and personal problems.

While many Whitney Houston fans have expressed anger towards Bobby Brown, Houston’s ex-husband, in regards to him leading her towards a drug tainted lifestyle, Houston herself admitted to using cannabis long before meeting the New Edition singer but his introduction to her life led them both down a path of drug dependency and violence which culminated in their divorce.

On Saturday night while performing with New Edition, Bobby Brown told the sell out crowd, “First of all, I want to tell you that I love you all. Second, I would like to say, I love you Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage.” 

 

Whitney Houston in better times

Whitney Houston's career was a sparkling success until addictions took hold of her.

 

Born August 9th, 1963, Whitney Houston first emerged as a bright talent in the 80s with her eponymous début album which included interstellar sellers, “Saving All My Love”, “ How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love of All”.

Her success was almost assured before the release of that record with a family of major soul stars surrounding her including her mother Cissy Houston, aunty Dionne Warwick and her godmother Aretha Franklin.

Her talent was acknowledged at age 15 when in 1978 she performed backing vocals for Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”.

Fans have been paying tribute to Whitney Houston on Facebook and other sites and many media outlets have been unusually kind in the wake of her passing.

We can expect more speculation to follow as to the cause of her death until an official statement is released in the coming weeks, but now is a time to reflect on the life of a woman who lived for her music, shone brightly and didn’t crave the same kind of media attention as music industry canvasses such as Madonna and more recently Lady Gaga, until she fell victim to the excesses and trappings that so often come with success.

Read about other celebrities who suffered and died as a result of substance addiction or prescription drugs such as Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Karen Carpenter, Michael Jackson and Mike Starr.

 

images: popbytes.com, celebritysmackblog.com,

Andy Irons: acute mixed drug ingestion led to heart attack

After his shocking and untimely death in November 2010, the family of world champion surfer Andy Irons have released the results of his autopsy. Contrary to initial reports at his time of death which suggested his death came as a result of Dengue ever, the findings indicate that he in fact died of a heart attack around 30 hours after taking cocaine.

The toxicology report found a cocktail of chemicals in his bloodstream including Xanax which Irons took for anxiety and insomnia, along with benzoylecgonine, a by-product of cocaine ingestion.

The autopsy was carried out by a Tarrant County medical examiner who quickly ruled out Dengue fever after discovering a severe blockage of he heart’s main artery which led to cardiac arrest.

Andy Irons at the US open.

Irons’ family then requested an independent review of the autopsy which was conducted by forensic pathologist Dr. Vincent Di Maio. He concluded that Andy Irons had suffered from hardening of the arteries, saying that, “A plaque of this severity, located in the anterior descending coronary artery is commonly associated with sudden death.”

Di Maio also added that Irons had a genetic predisposition which caused the early onset of artery hardening, a condition normally associated with people nearing their 50‘s. According to his family Irons also caught typhoid in 2006 which could have contributed to the problems with his heart.

Andy Irons in action - at home amongst the waves.

With heart attack as the primary cause of death the autopsy listed an ‘acute mixed drug ingestion’ as a secondary cause.

[adsense]”The family believes Andy was in some denial about the severity of his chemical imbalance and tended to blame his mood swings on himself and his own weaknesses, choosing to self-medicate with recreational drugs,” said the Irons family in their statement.

The full report will be available on June 20th once the injunction to keep them private has expired. The records were kept on hold after the family placed the injunction while Andy’s wife Lyndie was pregnant. Given her loss and the additional stress of the pregnancy they felt it best to wait until some time after she had given birth to their son.

Andy Irons sizes up the surf.

The events leading to his death began with Irons pulling out of the Rip Curl Search surf contest in Puerto Rico after he came down with flu-like symptoms. He was put on an intravenous drip to avoid the risk of dehydration after which he boarded a plane from Miami to his home in Hawaii.

For some reason Andy Irons missed the connecting flight and booked into a Dallas hotel where he passed away in the night.

Please share your thoughts on Andy Iron’s autopsy findings by leaving a comment.

Read our previous report on Andy Irons and other stars who died young including Matt Hughes, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger and Greg Giraldo.

images: surfexperience.blogspot.com, continentseven.com, guardian.co.uk, surfingmagazine.com, byosmosis.tv

Denis Quaid opens up about cocaine addiction

Dennis Quaid has made surprised quite a few people with his revelations of cocaine addiction in his past. The seemingly clean cut actor has admitted in an essay he penned for Newsweek that he fell foul of the drug’s addictive qualities when he first moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to forge an acting career.

Quaid’s honest appeal comes at a time when his career has turned a new corner, currently appearing in Soul Surfer; the Bethany Hamilton biopic.

Denis Quaid puts his cocaine addiction firmly in the past

“It was very casual at first,” he scribed. “That’s what people were doing when they were at parties. Cocaine was even in the budgets of movies, thinly disguised. It was petty cash, you know? It was supplied, basically, on movie sets because everyone was doing it. People would make deals. Instead of having a cocktail, you’d have a line.”

Quaid’s addiction began the same as many; insecurity playing a big part thanks to his meteoric rise to fame of which he felt undeserving, and having hailed from a lower-middle-class family he found the new attention had to handle. Cocaine provided the cushion which softened the blow.

“By the time I was doing The Big Easy, in the late 1980s, I was a mess,” he stated. “I was getting an hour of sleep a night. I had a reputation for being a ‘bad boy,’ which seemed like a good thing, but basically I just had my head stuck up my ass.”

The warning signs soon came and following a gig with his band, The Electrics, there was a bust-up and the group split, “just like in the movie The Commitments, because it all got too crazy.”

In what alcoholics refer to as a ‘moment of clarity’ Quaid sought the help he needed to kick the filthy drug and clean himself up again.

A stint in rehab put him straight but his career suffered as a result. Throughout the 90’s he starred in some stinkers. His marriage to Meg Ryan lasted the duration of what he describes as a personal reshaping but in 2001 the pair divorced.

“But that time in my life — those years in the ’90s recovering — actually chiseled me into a person,” he wrote. “It gave me the resolve and a resilience to persevere in life. If I hadn’t gone through that period, I don’t know if I’d still be acting. In the end, it taught me humility. I really learned to appreciate what I have in this life.”

Please share your thoughts on Denis Quaid’s cocaine addiction by leaving a comment.

Read about other celebrities with previous cocaine addictions including Lady Gaga; Stephen Fry; Kate Moss; Jessica White and Whitney Houston.

Images: unrealitymag.com; becksmithhollywood.com

 

Jessica White puts cocaine OD behind her and looks to a bright future

Jessica White may not always have been the archetypal good girl, with a cocaine OD and a pending assault charge on her record, but despite those issues she’s counting her blessings and looking at life in a positive way.

Her current list of plus points includes a starring role in the video for Kelly Rowland’s latest musical offering, the upcoming launch of her skincare line, a docu-series which she’s currently filming for Oxygen, and her proudest venture, The Angel Foundation, a women’s philanthropic organization.

Right now she’s happy with the way her life is going, “I’m living out every girl’s dream,” says the former model.

The trial for the alleged assault still looms large over her and opening statements are penned for May, but the 26 year-old former model is stoic about her involvement in the altercation.

“I never denied getting into an altercation,” says White. “But people painted me to be the bad girl, which was 110 percent false.”

She maintains it was an act of self-defence. “I was flagging a cab, and she came from behind me and pushed me.”

She refutes claims that she started the fight and has video evidence to corroborate her side of the story. “I didn’t strike her until she hit me in the face. I don’t lash out at innocent people.”

White also says that the incident was not a backlash from her split with Sean Penn and that she in fact abhors violence in all its forms. Having been the victim and witness of abusive relationships stretching back to her childhood she prefers to live a peaceful, harmonious life.

At the age of 14 she was subjected to molestation by a family member, and not only did she have to deal with the hurt and shame alone but was left scarred by the incident.

“I had to go through the hurt secretly,” she said on the matter. “I look at modelling as a saviour, because [it allowed me] to leave and travel to Paris and New York when I could finally relax and be out of the abusive environment.”

[adsense]Although Paris seemed like the ideal place to start over she quickly became lonely and desperate which by the age of 17 led her to an even more destructive relationship with cocaine.

By the age of 20 she had overdosed but the harsh reality of drug addiction helped her see the truth of things and through that experience she was able to move on.

“I was going to lose everything,” she offered. “[I saw my] whole life flash before me. But I was lucky, because I came face to face with evil, and it wasn’t something I liked seeing.”

Her story took a much more positive turn after a few months recuperation and she worked hard to mend the bridges she felt she’d burned through overuse of cocaine. She turned to her mother for help and now, free of drugs, sees her as her best friend.

“I truly am living out what true joy and happiness means, I’m in the best place possible.”

Please share your thoughts on Jessica White’s inspiring story by leaving a comment.

Read about Lady Gaga, Stephen Fry, Paris Hilton, Kate Moss and Whitney Houston who have all had trouble with cocaine in the past.

images: mediaoutrage.wordpress.com; mybuzzworthy.com

 

Stephen Fry on doing crosswords with a cocaine buzz

Stephen Fry, Britain’s much-loved actor and comedian, has for many years been open about his drug use  and bipolar disorder, and now he has lifted the lid on how he used to snort “the sherbert of shame” to get a bigger kick out of doing crossword puzzles.

In an interview with the Sky Arts programme In Confidence, the 53-year-old multi-talent said: ‘There were 15 years of pretty chronic cocaine taking. In my most hyper frames of mind, I found it was a wonderful drug to take to calm me down.

“I tended to take it alone at home and play word games, mind spinning.

“I’d do very difficult crosswords, I would spend hours on those.”

Fry went on to say: “I found it extremely easy to stop, but it took me a very long time to get to a position where I was ready to.”

Fry kicked the habit in 2003 and in a 2006 interview with BBC2 he admitted that he turned to cocaine — and vodka — in a big way as a means of numbing the inner turmoil of his depression: ”I’m actually kind of sobbing and kind of tearing at the walls inside my own brain while my mouth is, you know, wittering away in some amusing fashion.”

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression — a greatly misunderstood condition characterised by extreme highs and lows — when he was 37, although he’d battled depression [adsense]since his teens and was suicidal by the age of 17. Fry has spoken very openly about his experience with the illness, which was also depicted in the BBC documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic-Depressive, and according to researchers his willingness to talk about the condition has led to more people diagnosing themselves with the illness.

”This appears to have promoted the disorder as less stigmatising and acceptable to the public, a phenomenon that may have an evolutionary basis,” Dr Chan and Dr Sireling have said of what is being referred to as the Stephen Fry Effect.

Figures in the public eye who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder include DMX, Axl Rose and Ben Stiller. It is not known what causes this often debilitating disease, but with proper treatment and support, sufferers can learn to find a way to function and live with it.

Images: marymagdalen.blogspot.com and wikimedia commons