On Life and Death...and Making a Dramatic Exit

Some people die under??mysterious circumstances. Others simply end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. But regardless how we meet our demise, we all have one thing in common: sooner or later, we take our bows and make our final exit.

When a friend or family member dies, loved ones left behind must find a way to go on with life. If the one who passed had life insurance in place, finances are usually available to help make the transition smoother.

But regardless how death occurs, some situations that lead to a passing make no sense at all; in fact, they're just plain weird!

The Wild & Wacky

Take for instance these examples that led some into the great beyond unexpectedly.

  1. He died of laughter. A 50-year-old bricklayer sat down to watch his favorite television show—and laughed so hard for an extended period of time that his heart gave out and he died. In a strange twist, his wife wrote the show, thanking the producers for making her husband's last moments enjoyable.
  2. A four-foot beard? What a trip! Austrian Hans Steininger, famous for sporting the world's longest beard, jumped out of bed one night to respond to a fire in town. In his haste, he tripped on his beard and lost his balance, falling and breaking his neck.
  3. What a web we weave. Mother of modern dance, Isadora Duncan, died in 1927 when her favorite silk scarf got tangled around her car's wheel. The scarf wound so tightly that it jerked Miss Duncan out of the vehicle, dragged her for several yards and threw her violently against the pavement. She was killed on impact.
  4. Trapped in refuse. In 1947, police found the remains of one of two brothers amongst the newspapers and trash they had collected and hoarded in their home for years. Though it was later determined that Homer Collyer had died of starvation, his brother's whereabouts remained a mystery—until workers discovered his body only 10 feet from Homer's two weeks later. It seems Langley Collyer, who was caring for his paralyzed, invalid brother, had gotten ensnared in one of his own booby traps set for anyone who tried to remove things from the home—and ended up dead in his own refuse.
  5. A case of knowledge. Mariesa Weber went missing from home, and her family reported her disappearance to the authorities. Nearly two weeks later, she was found wedged behind a bookcase in her room. She had apparently stood on her dresser and leaned over the top to adjust the television plug in the wall behind it, fallen head-first into the space and perished.
  6. An act of overindulgence. King Adolf Frederick of Sweden loved to eat—so much so that he overindulged in 1771 and died of a digestive ailment. His final meal? Lobster, caviar, cabbage soup, sauerkraut, smoked herring, champagne and 14 servings of his favorite dessert—enough to kill anyone!

The Famous Also Fall Victim

Even celebrities sometimes die under the strangest of circumstances. Consider these cases concerning the famous who passed unexpectedly, demonstrating that notoriety doesn't grant anyone immunity from death.

  1. Bored to death.??The founder of Rodale Press and Organic Farming and Gardening magazine, Jerome Irving Rodale died of a heart attack while being interviewed on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971. When Rodale ceased responding to Cavett's questions, appearing fast asleep instead, Cavett asked him offhandedly if he was bored. On further inspection, the answer became clear: yes! Rodale had died quietly during the interview. The producers never aired the show out of respect for the deceased.
  2. Picked to death. The author, Sherwood Anderson, accidentally swallowed a toothpick at a party. He later developed peritonitis and died as a result.
  3. Bite your tongue! Allan Pinkerton, famous for creating the Pinkerton detective agency and developing investigative surveillance techniques, accidentally slipped while walking down a sidewalk and bit his tongue when he landed. The wound became infected, and he later died.
  4. He kicked the bucket—er, safe. The famous Jack Daniel, who founded the Tennessee whisky company, died of blood poisoning after kicking his safe in anger. It seems he couldn't remember the combination to the blasted thing—and was determined to show it who was boss!
  5. The indisposed King. Elvis Presley, known as the king of rock and roll, died in 1977 while doing his business on the toilet. Doctors later attributed his passing to weight gain and prescription drugs.
  6. She "made" the news. Christine Chubbuck, a depressed reporter, began her news broadcast as usual on the night of July 15, 1974. However, eight minutes into the broadcast, she abruptly switched gears, announced her intention to bring the audience the news in vivid living color—and promptly shot herself in the head.
  7. A stinging sensation. Australian wildlife expert and TV personality Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin was killed in 2006 when a stingray stabbed him through the heart. Irwin was filming a documentary at the time of the accident.

Going out with Style

Dealing with the reality of death leaves some people reeling. But by preparing for the worst and expecting the unexpected, we can all go out with style during our last act, leave our loved ones the legacy of life insurance—and make a dramatic exit.

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