21 Ironic Deaths You Will Not Believe #8
Death is a natural part of life, whether or not human kind ever truly understands the process and why it has to occur. Survivors will often remember the deceased with kind words or just the opposite. Either way, once someone has come this way and passed on, someone usually remembers him or her. The following individuals may be remembered for other reasons, but one of the biggest is the way they died, steeped in nearly unbelievable irony that warrants remembrance:
1. Marie Curie
Marie Curie was a Poland physicist who discovered the chemical elements polonium and radium with her scientist husband. The power couple helped to develop x-rays, which would turn the medical world upside down with possibilities. Curie died in 1934, of leukemia, which developed through her long term exposure to radiation throughout her career. The irony in Curie’s death is the fact that leukemia can now be treated with radiation therapy, which can help alleviate the symptoms and prevent the cells from spreading.
2. Heather O’Rourke
This angel faced child actress first made a name for herself playing a pivotal character in the classic horror film Poltergeist and its predecessors, Poltergeist II and III. As the youngest daughter in a family of five in the movie, O’Rourke’s Carol Ann is abducted by spirits and survives a trip to the beyond and back on different occasions throughout the movies. Sadly, she was unable to stage a comeback from her final trip beyond death, due to an intestinal blockage that resulted in septic shock and cardiac arrest. O’Rourke died at the tender age of twelve.
3. Jim Fixx
Jim Fixx wrote the bestselling fitness book “The Complete Book of Running” in 1977. He was an advocate of athletics and of keeping the body fit and healthy. Some give Fixx the credit of starting the fitness focus that has held on into current times. Though Fixx was focused on good health in his later years, it seems his heart was not as healthy as one would have thought. He died of a heart attack, attributed to blockages in his arteries, which could not be alleviated with his dedication to good health.
4. Eric Lynn Wright
Known in the rap world as Eazy E, Wright took the music world by storm in the 1990s with his controversial group NWA. One of several outspoken and boisterous young black men who ushered in the era of “gangsta rap”, Wright was a product of the difficult times to be found on the inner city streets of California and provided rap lyrics that painted a vivid picture of this life. Although he was an astute businessman and showed much more substance than simply a thug, the style of rap that Wright pioneered portrayed a thuggish, glamorous lifestyle that included selling drugs, violence, counting money, and sex with as many women as possible.
It is thought that this may be how Wright contracted the AIDS virus, complications from which resulted in his death in 1995. The irony of Wright’s death is that the public was just beginning to understand much about the AIDS virus and most people who contracted it were admittedly gay or drug users, neither of which the hard core, ladies’ man Wright was known to be.
5. Jerome Moody
Moody attended a lifeguard’s party in New Orleans in 1985 that was held to celebrate the first season the recreational department had gone without a drowning. Moody’s body was found at the bottom of the pool at the end of the party, where there were four lifeguards on duty.
6. Myra Davis
Even moviegoers who have not seen the horror classic Psycho are well aware of the iconic shower scene in which actress Janet Leigh comes up against the knife wielded by the psychotic Norman Bates in drag and loses the battle. A fact that even diehard Psycho fans do not know is that one of Leigh’s body doubles for the scene, Myra Davis, suffered a death that mirrored the vicious stabbing seen on screen, and she was also raped.
The most ironic thing about this crime does not end there. Davis’ killer got the wrong information, because Davis was not even the body double who actually appeared in the scene as it was shown in the movie. The criminal’s desire to replicate the scene with the body double from the movie was thwarted.
7. Steve Irwin
This Australian was affectionately known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter. Irwin was a staunch environmentalist and often narrowly escaped death while he worked with his beloved animals in the wild. He brought to world-wide attention the plight of several different species of animals that were facing deteriorating habitats.
Irwin often explored dangerous animals in their own habitats, wrestling with crocodiles and swimming alongside potentially deadly creatures, such as the stingray. His final, ironic adventure occurred as he was swimming with a giant stingray and was stung in the heart by the usually gentle creature. Irwin was able to remove the tail, however, he lost consciousness and never awakened. He died in 2006.
8. Jimi Heselden
The British multi-millionaire owned the Segway Company, the company responsible for the distribution of the two wheeled personal transportation vehicles. A staunch advocate of his company’s product, Heselden rode the Segway around his private property. In 2010, he apparently drove his off-road Segway off the footpath road near his home and plunged over an 80 foot cliff to his death. The personal scooter was often touted as a safe mode of transportation.
9. Natasha Pettigrew
A rising star in the Green political party, which advocates environmentalism and green living, Pettigrew did her part to contribute to saving the planet’s resources. She was an avid cyclist who used her bicycle for transportation whenever possible. She was also a well-trained athlete who was slated to become the Green party’s Senate candidate out of Maryland. On one of her regular biking excursions in 2010, Pettigrew was hit by a driver in a sports utility vehicle, the bane of environmentalists worldwide.
Pettigrew was killed when the driver left her to die, thinking she had simply hit a deer. The driver then continued on her journey, in the vehicle that was so large she did not realize Pettigrew’s bicycle was still attached to it.
10. George Reeves
Reeves portrayed the original Man of Steel in a television series back in the 1950s. Superman was a super hero who had the strength to take on any adversary, and was faster than a speeding bullet. The only thing that could weaken Superman was Kryptonite, fragments of rock from his home planet. It is ironic that as the actor who portrayed this invincible superhero, Reeves had no super protection from the bullet that killed him in 1959.
11. Oskar Leander Johansson Palmquist
Surviving one of the worst marine disasters of the century would make an individual seem to be invincible. Palmquist survived the sinking of the super ship, The Titanic, in 1912. While approximately 1,500 of the 2,200 on board The Titanic perished, Palmquist was one of the lucky ones who survived by braving icy waters and overfilled life boats which had to first navigate the dangerous waters surrounding the downed vessel. He settled in the New York area and worked as a toolmaker. In 1925, Palmquist died of drowning, in a small pond. It is ironic that this tragedy occurred in only 6 feet of water.
12. Garry Hoy
Hoy was an engineer turned lawyer who worked at the prestigious law firm Holden Day Wilson in Toronto, Canada. One of Hoy’s well known tricks was to introduce new students by proving that the glass in the building where they were housed was unbreakable. He would throw himself against the glass, and it would never break. The final time he performed this demonstration, the glass still did not break.
However, the pane came unattached from the frame and the entire pane fell out, taking Hoy with it in 1993. The irony is that as an engineer, Hoy likely should have known that although the glass might be unbreakable, the entire piece could become loose within the framework that held it, especially since jumping against it was something that he often did.
13. Felix Powell
This famous songwriter of the World War I era wrote the music to the lyrics composed by his brother for the best known morale boosting song of the times: “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile”. The upbeat song won a competition as the most positive song possibly ever written. Thousands of troops in World War I took the song to heart and used it to get past the terrors of the battlefield and return home.
Powell seemed immune to the feel good nature of his song. He was described as a troubled man, and he committed suicide in 1942, by shooting himself. He was wearing his service uniform at the time.
14. Patrick Edlinger
Edlinger was a popular French adventurer who helped turn sport climbing into a viable competitive sport. Edlinger became part of the myth of the spirituality of sport climbing when he began a competition that other climbers had failed to complete on an overcast day. It has been reported that as soon as Edlinger passed the point that had given the other climbers their reason to give up, the sun came out and shone directly on Edlinger. This breakthrough literally signaled the breakthrough for sport climbing, as well as Edlinger.
The sport climber who came to represent the heart of sport climbing died after falling on his stairs at his home, without the safety climbing equipment that had often saved him in more dangerous climbing ventures.
15. Caroline Lovell
Lovell was a staunch advocate for home births in the case of low risk pregnancies. She Australian had lobbied the government for more midwife legal support and funding so that they could provide their services to the women who wanted them and who should be able to avail themselves of them.
Lovell delivered her first daughter in an at home birth, with the assistance of a private midwife, with no complication. Her ironic death occurred when she died due to complications suffered during the home birth, again with the assistance of a private midwife, of her second child, in 2012.
16. Clement Vallandigham
Vallandigham was a popular lawyer from the 19th century. He was well known for being active in the day’s political arena and loudly opposed slavery but also called for Lincoln to be removed from the presidency.
We would like to think that lawyers believe in the innocence of their clients, to their utmost ability. Though we will never know, it could be determined that Vallandigham’s faith in his client in an 1877 case was backed with his dying breath. While performing a demonstration that was to prove that the victim his client was accused of having shot actually shot himself on accident, Vallandigham proved his own point when he accidentally shot himself as he argued. He died from this ironic shot to the head.
17. Johann Underwald
Underwald was a mathematician who was often likened to Albert Einstein in brilliance. Underwald died in an ironic accident that resulted from his using a 300 foot bungee cord to make a 250 foot jump in 1999. Underwald died on impact.
18. Ray Chapman
Chapman, known as Chappie in the baseball arena, was a shortstop for the Cleveland Indians baseball team. In 1920, during a game against the New York Yankees, Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays. He died as a result of the ironic pitch. To date, Chapman is the only Major League Baseball player to have been killed with a pitch.
19. Edward Juchniewicz
In 1991, 76 year old Juchniewicz was being escorted from his nursing home residence to a doctor’s appointment via ambulance, so that medical care for anything that might befall him would be readily accessible. The normally life-saving ambulance attendants strapped Juchniewicz to a stretcher and then left him unattended in the parking lot. Juchniewicz was killed in an ironic twist of fate when the stretcher rolled away and flipped over, causing a fatal head injury.
20. Peggy Entwistle
Entwistle was the epitome of old Hollywood glamour and beauty and aspired to becoming a shining star in the 1930s. Her career did not progress as she desperately wished, and the despondent young actress famously jumped to her death from the letter “H” in the Hollywood sign in 1932. The ironic nature of her death was revealed when she received a letter at her home the day after she committed suicide, in which she was offered the role of a woman who commits suicide in a play.
21. Jerome Irving Rodale
Credited with being the father of the health movement that encourages the consumption of organic foods, Rodale touted the benefits of organic foods and avoiding sugars and processed foods. Just before his ironic death, Rodale stated to Dick Cavett during a live interview, “I’m going to live to be 100…”. Rodale fell victim to a heart attack right in the interview chair, dying at the age of 72.
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