James Brown's death caused by Pneumonia

James Brown in his halcyon days

The lives of celebrities are often perceived as easy or great by the public but they’re not always a bed of roses. Like any non-famous person they too have to deal with difficulties but with the added pressure of the public eye on them and perhaps few had it as rough as James Brown – the Godfather of Soul.

Brown stepped into the limelight in the late 50s and quickly drew admirers who loved to see his all-energy performances. During the 1960s he became legendary and his success remained at a peak until he passed away.

Known for his hard work and dedication, James joined the ‘Famous Flames’ in 1955 and recorded several smash hits, including ‘Please Please Please’, ‘Try Me’ and ‘(Do the) Mashed Potatoes’.

If the previous years helped establish him as a top act, his journey towards real success started with ‘Live at Apollo’ in 1963 where he wowed crowds with hits such as ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’, ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’, both of which were chart topping successes and became his signature tunes.

James Brown - the godfather of soul

In the 1980s he bridged the gap between music and film when he appeared in classic flicks like ‘The Blues Brothers’, ‘Doctor Detroit’, ‘Rocky IV’ and ‘Miami Vice’, all of which helped revive his flagging career. It was his versatility and determination that saw him strive for success in each of his ventures.

Despite his film success the years preceding his Hollywood bow were fraught with personal difficulties. Throughout 1982 he was all but lost to drug addiction and his escapades with the psychosis-inducing ‘PCP’ or ‘Angel Dust’; a chemical compound which gives insane highs and endows the user with almost superhuman strength and pain resistance, were well covered by the press.

James Brown caught in a crazed moment - angel dust and other vices almost cost him his career and life

In 1988 he was arrested after a high-speed car chase and for reportedly assaulting an officer, as well as drug-related charges. He was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison, but released after only three.

By the time of his release he had become a shadow of his former self and was still gripped by drug addiction. Something had to give and he eventually checked himself into a drug rehabilitation centre where he underwent intensive treatment for 90 days.

Brown was a new man after the treatment and he put all the drugs, high-speed chases and shotgun incidents behind him. Despite his new approach to life his health was always a concern, especially as he was diagnosed with diabetes at a very young age. Perhaps the years of drug use took its toll on him and played some part in his development of prostate cancer but again, with treatment and care he successfully overcame the illness.

After so many music hits, numerous awards, film appearances and publicly aired mayhem, James Brown passed away on Christmas day, 2006, from a heart failure brought on my complications with pneumonia.

Anorexia and Pneumonia killed Brittany Murphy

Brittany Murphy in her healthier days

Just two short days after her death, while her family, friends and fans were saddened and mourning by the unexpected and shocking passing of 32-year-old Brittany Murphy, her half brother Jeff Bertolotti angrily accusing Tinsel Town’s unrealistic physical ideal for playing its in part in her physical deterioration.

People come into the town with their dreams and get chewed up alive and those who make it get chewed up alive anyway. And that’s what happened to Brittany,” he told People Magazine.

Her appearance towards her final days was horrendous; the naturally pretty actress looking emaciated and gaunt, was accompanied by remarks from Bertolotti about her eating disorders and that it was the pressure around Hollywood to stay thin which contributed to her illness and eventual death.

Initial autopsy reports claimed there was no foul play involved and that her body looked “normal”, but following the autopsy many reverted to the theory of anorexia having an adverse effect.

Brittany Murphy showing signs of weight loss

Brittany Murphy showing alarming signs of weight loss

Famous as the chubby girl in the 1990s hit movie ‘Clueless’, Brittany reportedly did everything she could to distance herself from that image. A friend told thelatestnews.id: “She wore extraordinary amounts of make-up, tons of fake eyelashes, got her teeth capped, dyed her hair blonde, lost weight – she wanted to be a beauty. She didn’t want to be the fat girl from ‘Clueless’. She didn’t eat a lot. She would drink copious amounts of coffee.”

While another friend confirmed the actress had “insane self-image issues”, Brittany always maintained she led a healthy lifestyle and never did drugs.

I am a bit thinner now than what I would like to be,” she told Fox News at a red carpet event where she looked stick thin and weak. She maintained that her body was a result of ballet classes.

Despite her own claims that she didn’t take drugs her death was ruled an accident as a result of pneumonia, anaemia (from malnourishment), drugs and alcohol after she collapsed at her home. It is reported that she hadn’t been taking care of herself and was not taking her medication for diabetes.

Gore Vidal, Literary Juggernaut dies of Pneumonia

Gore Vidal during a Los Angeles interview in 1974.

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal born October 3, 1925, was something of a rebel rouser in his youth. As a liberal American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist he caused outrage among conservative critics with his third novel, The City and the Pillar (published in 1948) which was one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality.

But his list of achievements doesn’t stop at writing, for as a political critic he tried to lead by example and ran for political office twice.

In his later days he was described by the New York Times as “an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent.”

The Los Angeles Times chalked him up as a “literary juggernaut” whose scribing, both in essay and novel were considered “among the most elegant in the English language”.

Gore Vidal aged 86

Literary Juggernaut and political rebel rouser, Gore Vidal aged 86

The Washington Post paid tribute by calling him a “major writer of the modern era” and an “astonishingly versatile man of letters” and popular Spanish publication Ideal said that Vidal’s death was a loss to the “culture of the United States” adding that was a “Huge American novelist and essayist”.

The Italian La Corriere portrayed him as “the enfant terrible of American culture” and that he was “one of the giants of American literature” while the French paper Le Figaro said he was “the Killjoy of America” but also an “outstanding polemicist” who used words and phrases “like high precision weapons.”

After such outstanding tributes few can deny Vidal’s presence among the literary greats and his passing due to complications with pneumonia at his home in Hollywood Hills on July 31, 2012 was met with much sadness. He was 86 years old and left behind an unparalleled literary legacy.




Elizabeth Taylor dies from congestive heart failure aged 79

Veteran star of the big screen, Elizabeth Taylor died in Los Angeles last night after struggling for many years with her health, leading to congestive heart failure.

The 79 year old will be well remembered for performances in films such as National Velvet, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; as well as being one of the first ‘serial marryers’ in Hollywood.

Her most famous relationship was with Richard Burton, the highly regarded and much celebrated British actor whose voice became immortalised through Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds musical extravaganza.

She met Burton on the set of the 1963 Cleopatra which at the time was one of the most expensive Hollywood productions and of course was responsible for one of the most famous and turbulent romances.

Taylor was considered one of the greatest and most beautiful actresses of her time and was certainly one of the most glamorous both on and off screen throughout the golden age of cinema and beyond.

Along the path of her career she won two Oscar awards along with four nominations.

Declining Health

Richard Burton was Taylor’s 4th husband (they married in 1964) following Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Michael Todd and Eddie Fisher; and ironically he was her 5th husband too having divorced and remarried him in 1975. After they divorced again she had two more marriages to John W Warner and Larry Fortensky.

Her first health issues arose after she fell while filming National Velvet and ever since then she had back problems. Aside from battling alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs she also suffered a rare strain of pneumonia in 1961 which almost claimed her life.

In the 1990’s she underwent surgery for two hip replacements, another case of pneumonia which again almost killed her and in 1997 she had surgery to remove a benign brain tumour.

News of her worsening health became public in 2004 when it was revealed she was suffering with congestive heart disease that caused breathing difficulties, fatigue and scoliosis which causes curvature of the spine.

Despite her poor health she continued to champion her AIDS charity which she set up in 1991 after the death of her old friend Rock Hudson.

Please share your thoughts on the life and work of Elizabeth Taylor by leaving a comment.

Read about Jane Russell; Gloria Stuart; Michael GoughLiberace; as well as Liz Taylor’s previous heart failure.

images: igossip.com; fanpop.com

Seinfeld actor Len Lesser dies aged 88

The world has lost another comedic great with the passing of Len Lesser, best known for his recurring role as Uncle Leo on Seinfeld. He died from cancer-related pneumonia.

Although his career spanned a good 60 years and he played many roles on TV classics such as The Monkees, Get Smart, Mad About You, Boy Meets World and Everybody Loves Raymond, it’s his shouts of “Jerry! Hello!”, with his arms outstretched in excitement, for which he will always be fondly remembered.

Len wasn’t only a laugh-inducing man with perfect comic timing, he was a fine dramatic actor too and some of his film credits include Kelly’s Heroes, Birdman of Alcatraz and Death Hunt.

“Heaven got a great comedian and actor today,” his daughter Michele said in a statement released by the family.

“The outpouring of sympathy we’ve already received has been amazing and is so greatly appreciated.

“Thank you to all the people who helped make my father’s last journey special and surrounded with love.”

Read here about funny man Leslie Nielsen, who died from pneumonia complications

Images: flickr and boncherryt.com

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is the inflammation of one or both lungs, usually due to an infection in the chest. At the end of the breathing tubes in the lungs there are clusters of tiny air sacs. When these sacs become inflamed, they fill up with fluid, making it difficult to breath and causing coughing fits.

It also disrupts the normal process of gas exchange, where oxygen is taken into the body and carbon dioxide removed. This lack of oxygen supply to the tissues could be fatal, if left untreated.

The same condition with the same causes and treatment is also sometimes referred to as bronchopneumonia, lobar pneumonia and double pneumonia, according to the NHS.

What causes it?

Many different bacteria, viruses and (rarely) fungi can cause pneumonia. One of the most common is Streptococcus pneumoniae. Other common causes include haemophilus and staphylococcus. More unusual bacteria are sometimes found, especially in people with underlying problems with their immune systems, according to BBC Health.

The germ depends on where the pneumonia began. For example, the germs that cause pneumonia caught in hospitals are different to those that cause it when caught in the community.

Viruses that cause pneumonia most commonly include the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and sometimes the flu (influenza) type A or B virus.

Aspiration pneumonia can occur when the sufferer breathes in vomit, a foreign object (such as a peanut) or a harmful substance of some sort (smoke or chemical). These cause irritation in the lungs and damage them.

Fungal pneumonia rarely affects normally healthy people, but usually targets those with an existing health condition. It is commonly found in some parts of the US, Mexico, South America and Africa.

Factors such as smoking, heavy drinking, chronic lung disease or underlying illness can sometimes increase young people’s risk of contracting pneumonia. Older people, or those in hospital are more at risk due to general illness, immobility and the presence of many more resistant bacteria within the hospital environment.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Shortness of breath, even when resting and general difficulty breathing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Coughing up sputum, which may be green, rusty or blood-stained
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating and shivering
  • Stabbing chest pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches and muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • General feeling of being unwell

[adsense]How is it treated?

A doctor usually examines the chest by listening to it and only in more severe cases, is it necessary to take an X-ray.

Mild pneumonia is treated at home with a dose of antibiotics. Symptoms normally start improving within to days of beginning treatment. Some people with severe pneumonia may need hospital treatment.

Common painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help reduce aches and fever, but cough mixtures are not recommended, as it is important for the body to rid itself of the mucus. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids and not smoke during the period of illness.

Celebrities who have suffered from pneumonia include Brittany Murphy’s husband, Simon Monjack, Limp Bizkit drummer John Otto, comedian Leslie Nielsen and the original socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Images: Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons

'Candy Licker' Marvin Sease dies aged 64

News has surfaced this morning that underground legend of the Southern chitlin circuit in the ’80s Marvin Sease has died. His lustful and uncompromisingly sexual lyrics made him a popular act, and his musical career spanned almost two decades. He was eight days short of his 65th birthday when he passed away.

According to various reports Sease was at Vicksburg, Mississippi when he died and although most stories cite pneumonia as the cause of death, no official cause has been released as yet.

Marvin’s career path was laid out before him at an early age when he began as a humble gospel singer involved with a range of groups, and by the age of 20 he had upped sticks and left home for New York where he joined the Gospel Crowns.

Despite his love of the Gospel scene he wanted more from music and soon decided that forming his own R&B band was the way forward, so with his three brothers in tow he created “Sease.”

With the band under way, the South Carolina born singer wrote an eponymous album which was released on his own “Early” label. The track list contained one of his most popular tracks, “Ghetto Man,” which was eventually reissued on the London/Mercury label, that signed Sease in 1987.

His career defining point came during the re-released “Marvin Sease” era, which was given extra kudos with the addition of a 10-minute track called, “Candy Licker.” Due to its content the song received virtually no airplay, but the lyrics left nothing to the imagination though a thinly veiled double-entendre, and the song was an absolute hit. After that Sease took Candy Licker as his stage name.

[adsense]His music never hit the heights in chart positions, and his celebrity status never elevated to the same levels as some of his contemporaries but the cult soul star’s funk driven, sex charged songs set his self defined style in stone, and he was always a top attraction on the black club circuit.

His discography covers almost 20 albums released through major labels like London /Mercury, Jive and Silvertone. His last release in 2008, “Who’s Got the Power” was published by the Mississippi-based R&B indie label Malaco.

Share your thoughts about the life and music of Marvin Sease by leaving a comment.

Read about other stars who dies of complications arising from pneumonia such as Brittany Murphy, Tony Curtis, Stephen J. Cannell James Brown and Leslie Nielsen,

images: streetcosignor.blogspot.com, www.allmusic.com

Zsa Zsa Gabor released from hospital

Zsa Zsa Gabor has received a clean bill of health and is celebrating her 94th birthday at home.

But according to her husband her condition was much worse than previously known. Prince Frederic von Anhalt told TMZ that Gabor had “full blown pneumonia” and that doctors did not feel optimistic about whether or not she would make it.

Prince Frederic said he was given option of pumping her with a lot of antibiotics or putting her on a respirator. They chose the antibiotics, which cleared up the infection and brought her blood pressure and temperature back to normal. She can also breathe well again and she’s “back to her normal self.”

Gabor was scheduled to leave UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center Sunday at 11 o’clock in the morning, her 94th birthday. The Prince says he is buying her a cake and the nursing staff is planning to sing her “Happy Birthday.”

Hungarian-born Zsa Zsa Gabor is most famous for movie roles in films like ‘Lili’ and ‘The Story of Three Loves’. She is also a famous socialite and beauty queen. Zsa Zsa has been married a whopping nine times, and has been Prince Frederic’s wife since 1986.

She has spent the past few months in and out of hospital. In July, she underwent hip replacement surgery after having a fall, this apparently led to complications and there were rumours Gabor had had a stroke. In August, just days after being released, she was taken back to hospital with apparently “excruciating” pain in her hip. It was then also discovered that she was bleeding.

Just a couple of days later, it was reported that she had had two blood clots removed from her chest, one of which was very close to her heart and that a priest had visited her at the hospital and administered her last rites. In the meantime, Prince Frederic was not coping well at all with his wife’s condition and collapsed due to exhaustion and lack of sleep.

[adsense]In September, the socialite was back in A&E after being found “unresponsive” by her husband and in January things looked even worse. Doctors are said to have warned Gabor that she would die unless she underwent surgery to amputate the leg above the knee. She is said to have been “screaming and yelling” in protest as she wanted to be home for her traditional New Year’s Eve celebration.

Now we have found out that on top of everything, the screen siren suffered from a bout of near-fatal pneumonia. Here’s wishing Zsa Zsa a very happy 94th and fingers crossed she will not be seeing any more hospital beds in the near future.

Click here to read more about the story of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Frederic Prinz von Anhalt and Nelson Mandela’s recent stint in hospital.

Images: Wikipedia

Two of Chile’s miner heroes suffering from incurable lung disease

The 33 miners in Chile became the world’s favorite reality show when they were trapped in a San Jose gold and copper mine and there is no doubting that they have all become celebrities in their own rights. Celebrities who have been to hell and back after enduring 69 days underground

How are the mind and body affected after spending such a long period in the dark, cramped confines of a living tomb? According to officials, the miners have emerged in surprisingly good health. They are all in hospital now, being treated in wards that have been darkened to allow the men to adjust to the light.

According to BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandani, the eldest miner at 63, Mario Gomez, is being treated for both pneumonia and silicosis, an incurable respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust.  As stated on SilicosisFYI.com, before the lung disease was identified and named in the 1930s it had a number of different names, including  miner’s asthma, grinder’s rot, rock tuberculosis and stonemason’s disease. When the dust particles are inhaled  the lung tissue gets inflamed, leading to scar tissue formation on the lungs, which blocks the flow of oxygen into the lungs and bloodstream.

The second man out of the mine, 39-year-old Mario Sepulveda, also has silicosis.

A few of the unsung heroes have already had  some dental work and on Thursday two other miners will undergo “invasive dental surgery under general anaesthesia” because of “very serious” infections, Health Minister Jaime manalich told reporters.

The excruciatlingly long period underground has also taken a toll on the moners mentally. Some of them are suffering from mild anxiety. The youngest and fifth miner to be rescued, 19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez, is suffering from depression. As reported on Daily Mail, a doctor revealed that the father of a four-month-old baby was struggling to come to terms with his ordeal and that he was not adjusting well to the new surroundings, adding that, “He spoke very little and didn’t seem to connect.”

Psychiatrists and various health professionals  are predicting that the miner’s  lives will be anything but normal in the time to come., but thankfully Chile has given its word that it will look after the men for at least six months – until they can be certain that they have all readjusted.

Are you in Chile? Did you watch the miners being rescued?

Read our coverage about celebrities Nicole Richie and Limp Bizkit, who have both suffered from pneumonia.

Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Victor_Segovia_-_Chilean_miner.jpg, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Franklin_lobos.jpg

Hollywood screen idol Tony Curtis dies at 85

The handsome and enigmatic star, with a memorable career spanning over six decades and roles in over 140 Hollywood movies, died in his Nevada home of a heart attack on Wednesday night.

Oscar-nominated Tony Curtis will live on in people’s memories for his performance in films like Some Like it Hot. Sir Michael Parkinson, who interviewed the star numerous times, was quoted on dailyrecord.co.uk as saying: “He was a very fine actor. Some Like it Hot is one of the greatest comedies of all time.

“The man who made it, Billy Wilder, did not suffer fools so for Tony Curtis to work with him and make that film shows just how good he was.

“He was an extraordinary man. Hollywood tried to make him into a sex symbol in the 1950s and 1960s but he was his own man.”

Married six times and with a string of high profile girlfriends, the actor was something of a womaniser, who also went through phases in his life where he struggled with cocaine and alcohol abuse. One of the greatest tragedies of his life was when his 23-year-old son died of a heroin overdose in 1994.

When his acting career thinned out and the big screen no longer played such a central role in his life, Tony Curtis took to painting still lifes. As quoted in dailymail.co.uk, he said in 1990: “I’m a recovering alcoholic. Painting has given me such a great pleasure in life, helped me to recover.” He certainly had a magic touch: the previous year he sold over $1 million worth of his art on the first day of an exhibition.

Curtis was plagues by ill health in his later years, suffering from chronic pulmonary disease and pneumonia, which left him in a coma for a number of days, since which he has been confined to a wheelchair.

The actor’s family spokesman told the TV Network ABC News that he passed away peacefully in hes bed next to his wife.

Celebrities who have passed away recently include Eddie Fisher, Kenny Mckinley and Greg Giraldo

Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tony_Curtis_1997.jpg, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2009-0314-LV-002-TonyCurtis.jpg