What Really Killed Him…

I see:

Until his brush with death [in 2004], Bowie, a long-time heavy smoker, insisted on a full English fry-up every weekend.

Now his wife of 20 years, Iman, prepares him a fat-free Sunday brunch of egg-white omelette with shiitake mushrooms and steamed asparagus.

And she told followers on Twitter earlier this year that she has replaced his favourite mashed potatoes with healthier — if less appetising — pureed cauliflower with non-fat sour cream.

Now we know what really killed him. Pureed cauliflower with non-fat sour cream. Them and the egg-white omelettes with shiitake mushrooms and steamed asparagus. And giving up smoking:

David Bowie was shocked by the timing of his near-fatal heart attack last year (04) – because he’d given up smoking six months previously.

Funny how he had a heart attack 6 months after stopping smoking. And never toured again, while presumably enjoying all the amazing health benefits of stopping smoking.

I’m just a year younger than David Bowie. I’ve never had a heart attack. And I’m still smoking, drinking whisky, and cooking fry-ups. I’ve cooked two in the past couple of weeks. Eggs, bacon, mushrooms, baked beans, and fried bread that’s absorbed all the lard and bacon fat in the pan (makes the pan a lot easier to clean). About the only thing missing was sausages and black pudding.

If I stopped smoking and started eating pureed cauliflower, I reckon I’d be dead within a week.

Anyway here’s Bowie’s ‘Stay’ from 2000, with Earl Slick playing its signature riff,  and probably Carlos Alomar on the rhythm guitar. So long, starman.

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56 Responses to What Really Killed Him…

  1. beobrigitte says:

    Now we know what really killed him. Pureed cauliflower with non-fat sour cream.
    Indeed, it may well have. Our “healthy living” has a major problem: VITAMINS CAN ONLY ENTER YOUR SYSTEM CARRIED BY FAT.
    We need vitamins. Mostly because they fight (amongst other things) also cancer.
    And we need “starvation periods” as well because our genetic make-up kills abnormal clusters of cells.
    I have been testing the “high protein – low carb” diet for a few months now – I find that, indeed, my muscle mass has increased(!) AT MY AGE!!!. I can jump the heights I could jump when in my early 40s. Lifting loads of big concrete stones most certainly has had it’s benefits!!!! (The arsehole I surprised with my upper body strength 5 years ago would be in for a treat If he ever got near me again!!! I believe he beat his next “victim” to a pulp and lived on her money and investment!)

    Healthy living = do what serves you and your body what you like doing. In short: HAVE A LIFE WHERE AT THE END, holding our favourite tipple and a cigarette, WE CAN SAY: ” WHAT A GREAT RIDE!”‘
    Those who spent their lives scared of life? Non-descript. Boring. Nothing learned. Nothing particularly enjoyed.

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    “Pureed cauliflower with non-fat sour cream.”

    Oh yuk! I’d rather have the cauliflower “plain” on its own than mashed to a pulp with that Hellish-sounding stuff!

  3. Tony says:

    I’m sure I’ve seen a study that indicated a large increase in risk of heart attack during the first couple, or more, years ago after giving up smoking. I’ll try to dig it out tomorrow.
    There are also some suggestions that there’s a greater risk of lung cancer in the first five(?) years too.

    • nisakiman says:

      I read a few years ago (an article in Canadian paper, if I recall, which unfortunately I omitted to bookmark) which said that ex-smokers have a 60% increased risk of developing lung cancer than current smokers. The article went on to say that those figures were suppressed, as TC didn’t want to dilute the ‘quit now for greater health’ message. I’ll have to search for the article, although I’m not really optimistic about finding it again.

      • Rose says:

        This one from the Ottawa Citizen, Nisakiman?

        Smoking out the facts

        “According to three doctors at the KS Hegde Medical Academy in Mangalore, India, writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, giving up smoking can kill you.”

        “….struck by the more than casual relationship between the appearance of lung cancer and an abrupt and recent cessation of the smoking habit in many, if not most, cases.”

        But as far as I can see, the 60% comes from an article on the same study in the Guardian

        Quitters finish first

        “The danger of cigarettes is mostly not in smoking them, argues a study by three doctors at the KS Hegde Medical Academy in Mangalore, India. Or, put another way: the danger comes from not smoking. Figuratively blowing smoke in the face of conventional wisdom, the study asks: “Are lung cancers triggered by stopping smoking?”

        “The striking direct statistical correlation between cessation of smoking to the development of lung malignancies, more than 60% plus, is too glaring to be dismissed as coincidental.”

        • nisakiman says:

          No, it was neither of those, Rose. I’ve seen the Ottawa Citizen one before, but not the Guardian one. I have a feeling it had something to do with some woman who ran marathons or something? The bit about the ex-smoker / lung cancer thing was almost an aside to the main story. Damn! This is going to bug me now!

      • cherie79 says:

        I read that article and might even have it somewhere. It made a lot of sense as it explained about the body being acclimatised to smoking and suddenly stopping caused chaos. Another point it raised was it had been noted that long term smokers who suddenly and easily stop develop a cancer soon after. I have seen this in several people I know, they are unsure whether a subconscious knowledge causes the sudden cessation and why it is followed by a cancer or heart problem. I will email the article if I locate it.

        • Rose says:

          There’s this one which also includes the 60%

          “July 14, 2010 (Los Angeles, California) — Much of what people think they know about smoking and lung cancer might be wrong, according to findings presented here at the 11th International Lung Cancer Conference.”

          “60% of our cohort developed lung cancer despite doing the right thing by stopping smoking over 1 decade ago,” according to the researchers.

          These findings contradict the popular perception that most people with lung cancer are ongoing smokers who did not kick the habit until cancer symptoms appeared, the researchers note”

          “In 1995, California passed one of the first antismoking laws in the nation when it banned smoking in enclosed workspaces.
          This might have encouraged more people to quit smoking than in other parts of the country and might help account for the preponderance of patients in the earlier stages of cancer.”
          http: //www.medscape.com/viewarticle/725138 now passworded

        • Pat Rader says:

          I’ve known more people who have quit smoking and then developed some form of cancer. I wonder if there have been any studies about that. I’m sure there must be some correlation to the two. I’m afraid to quit smoking for that reason.

      • slugbop007 says:

        It was probably deleted.

        • nisakiman says:

          Yes, there is always that possibility. I’m forever going to bookmarked pages with the sort of info that TC doesn’t want people to know and finding that they’ve disappeared. They have no morals at all. Any facts which disagree with their narrative get buried. They must spend a vast amount of time trawling for stuff which they think they can persuade the owner of the site to delete.

    • Rose says:


      I know of this one.

      Effects of Smoking Cessation on Changes in Blood Pressure and Incidence of Hypertension

      “The trends for increased risk of hypertension for longer periods of smoking cessation were observed in subgroups of those who maintained weight as well as those who gained weight after smoking cessation. The adjusted increments in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in those who had quit for ≥1 year than in current smokers. These trends among weight losers, as well as gainers and maintainers, were similar. We observed progressive increases in blood pressure with the prolongation of cessation in men, although at this time the mechanism remains unknown and must be clarified.

      This study implies that the cessation of smoking may result in increases in blood pressure, hypertension, or both.”

      But I’m not sure that applies.

      “The star, 57, fell ill as he performed in Germany and doubled up in agony backstage.

      He was rushed to hospital where surgeons performed an emergency operation on an acutely-blocked artery.”

  4. Tony says:

    Oops, should read ‘years after’ not ‘years ago after’.
    I thought asparagus was supposed to be unhealthy. I do hope it is because I rather like it.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Mummies’ clogged arteries take smoking, fatty foods, lethargy out of the mix

    By Tom Valeo, Times Correspondent

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 4:30am

    You do everything right: You exercise every day, include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet, never smoke, minimize the stress in your life and take medication to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control. You’re preventing modern life from ruining your heart, right? • Well, maybe modern life isn’t as much of a problem as merely living. CT scans of 137 ancient mummies from three continents show that our ancestors had plaque in their arteries, too, even though they never smoked, never tasted ice cream or pork rinds, and had no choice but to exercise vigorously every day of their lives.

    According to the study, which appeared recently in the Lancet, at least one-third of the mummies, who lived as long as 5,000 years ago, had arteries that had narrowed as a result of atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty deposits in the arterial wall. Apparently the cardiovascular system has a tendency to clog up over time.

    “Our research shows that we are all at risk for atherosclerosis, the disease that causes heart attacks and strokes,” said Gregory Thomas, medical director of the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, and one of the authors of the study. “The data we gathered about individuals from the prehistoric cultures of ancient Peru and the Native Americans living along the Colorado River and the Unangan of the Aleutian Islands is forcing us to look for other factors that may cause heart disease.”

    The diet of the mummies varied widely, but contained ample protein and vegetables (and presumably no cupcakes or pork rinds). Aside from the few Egyptian mummies who lived their lives as pampered royalty, these ancient people used their muscles constantly.

    Yet, the atherosclerosis was found in mummies who died in what we today would consider middle age (almost none made it to 60). And just as today, their arteries became more narrow as they got older. CT scans of modern people have demonstrated that after the age of 60 for men and 70 for women, some degree of atherosclerosis is all but universal. One large study found that teens ages 15 to 19 showed early signs of atherosclerosis, and 50 percent already had conspicuous accumulations of plaque.

    “All of us age in every tissue of our body,” says Dr. Donald LaVan, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. “It’s just a question of how rapidly it happens. There’s nothing you can do to stop aging. All you’re trying to do is prevent it from advancing faster than it should.”

    The authors of the paper agree. “Although commonly assumed to be a modern disease, the presence of atherosclerosis in premodern humans raises the possibility of a more basic predisposition to the disease,” they concluded.

    “After that, we’re in the realm of treating disease,” he says. “If your lipids are up or you have hypertension, take care of it. If you have problems with rhythm disturbances, that must be treated, too, because it impairs the ability of heart to pump efficiently. We’re looking at common sense here, but getting patients to do these things is tough.”

    • malagabay says:

      “There’s nothing you can do to stop aging”
      It’s a very simple message:
      We are all suffering from a fatal disease – it’s called LIVING.
      So make the most of it while it lasts!

  6. cherie79 says:

    I know several long term smokers who gave up and promptly became ill with cancer, heart problems or other serious conditions. I decided to keep smoking after my lung cancer surgery as I didn’t see it would make any difference and so far it hasn’t, five years and counting.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Cherie in our family everybody smokes except mom. She only smoked about 10 years back in her 20s. She is the only family member that ever got any cancer. Im talking 6 sisters and all of the great aunts and uncles even her own mom and dad nada……….Its very odd she was the only one and it was colarectal. They fixed her up fine and its been 17 years ago now. She is 76 this past Nov. Though she was in the hospital for the last 2 months over a case of pneumonia and then ended up with sepsis. Which they cured and shes at rehab fixing to go home this weekend and shes doing 3 miles a day on the bike!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Im doing great to! I walk an average of 2 miles a day and do just about everything I ever did before.
    But it took time to heal mentally……….that’s the biggy.

  8. Fred says:

    Thanks to Harleyrider, most interesting. Nature has many ways to kill us off: Escape cancer? Have heart trouble instead.

    Yes, Bowie’s demise hardly makes him a poster boy for the health campaigners – did everything right, had everything to live for, doubtless had the best of treatment, and yet proved defenseless against The Reaper.

  9. Fred says:

    Mummies’ clogged arteries, I meant.

  10. mikef317 says:

    Some people understand the food issue. The same can’t be said for tobacco.


  11. Igrowmyown says:

    Frank you’ve got to include the black pudding next fry-up you’re becoming way too health conscious.

    • Frank Davis says:

      They’ve started calling black pudding a ‘superfood’ recently. That’s almost got me wondering if I’d be getting a bit too ‘health conscious’ if buy some more. But maybe it stops being a superfood after a few weeks in a fridge, growing a nice layer of mould?

  12. Igrowmyown says:

    David Bowie hoovered up amphetamine’s and especially cocaine on an industrial scale and heavy long term use of cocaine can cause heart and liver damage.

  13. nisakiman says:

    If I stopped smoking and started eating pureed cauliflower, I reckon I’d be dead within a week.

    Heh! Same as that, Frank! Of all vegetables (and I like most veg), I think cauliflower must be the blandest and least interesting. The only way to enjoy it is cooked in a bechamel sauce with lashings of Cheddar cheese melted over the top and lots of fresh-ground black pepper. And even then, I tend to mix it half-half with broccoli to add a bit more flavour.

  14. Fredrik Eich says:

    According to Channel 4 news Bowie passed away because of liver cancer (so did Mick Ronson ). Liver cancer is associated with Hep C which I believe you get from blood to blood transfer from for example heroin users sharing needles.

  15. harleyrider1978 says:

  16. Rickie says:

    Smoking Dramatically Increases Liver Cancer .

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Smoking rates among intravenous drug users is very high, so you already have confounding by infection right there.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Also, liver cancer rates have increased over the last half century, despite male smoking prevalence falling, from ~90% in 1950 to ~20% today.

    • Jonathan Bagley says:

      Some research has found smoking to be associated with liver cancer, which is not the same as you are claiming.

    • Rose says:

      I know nothing about liver cancer, but it is always a good idea to read past the headline.

      Study: Smoking Dramatically Increases Liver Cancer Risk

      “In an accompanying editorial, Morris Sherman, MD and Josep M. Llovet, MD clarify that smoking by itself does not cause liver cancer , but that it dramatically increases the risk, especially for people who have other risk factors, such as hepatitis B or C virus.”

      “Worldwide, the major risk factors for liver cancer are long-term infections with hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus. People with these infections are more likely to develop cirrhosis, a disease in which liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue. People with cirrhosis have an increased risk of liver cancer. In the US, most liver cancer is associated with alcohol-related cirrhosis and possibly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”

      That makes more sense.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You have no sense of humour, Peter.

      • nisakiman says:

        People like him never have a sense of humour, Frank. That’s why when they banned smoking in pubs the very soul of the pub died. No humour, no bonhomie, no sense of fun. Anti-smokers suck the joy out of every situation.

        • beobrigitte says:

          I agree. No wonder the youngsters drink themselves comatose….

          With respect to this Rachow guy; he posts his own blog posts on other bloggers pages and still people aren’t interested in his tobacco control financed regurgitated rubbish.
          I can only assume that this guy arrested in development about 20 years ago and therefore lacks the necessary equipment which induces own thought, and on top of it, he only feels strong in the safety of his own home, insulting people on the internet.
          I wish him a long life in this position. After all, isn’t it a case of: Be careful what you wish for – it might come true!

          Much to my amusement will this Rachow guy be the first person to suffer when our freedom of speech on the internet is gone. A long, lonely life ahead of him. Just the same as the retired smokers have to endure thanks to people like Rachow killing the few hours of social interaction. Be careful what you wish for, Rachow, it might come true!

    • Barry Homan says:

      He had to post it here, because nobody was commenting on his page. Poor lonely little anti.

      • Some French Bloke says:

        I just posted a comment there, but it seems it automatically went into moderation.
        Maybe only consensual, TC-compatible comments are eligible?

    • Some French Bloke says:

      “And here is the answer to your pro-cancer bullshit”

      And here is a graph that seriously questions your belief that “Liver cancer has one main risk factor”…
      Have fun trying to reconcile that assertion with the *fact* that liver cancer death rates shot up precicely when smoking prevalence started to decline:

    • Some French Bloke says:

      I might as well post my Rachow comment here. Quotations are from the “study” by Stacy Simon he uses as reference:
      “A new study reinforces the link between liver cancer and the risk factors of smoking, obesity, and heavy drinking.”
      It seems that someone is brazenly downplaying the essential role of hepatitis B and C, and framing the usual suspects, rather than conducting real, honest research.

      “half the cases of liver cancer in the study were associated with smoking… Almost 21% of cases were associated with hepatitis C and 13% with hepatitis B.”
      Anyone who finds this convincing is reading *far* too much into the notion of “association”, which is a catch-all with very limited scientific value, no potential to establish causation, and in fact opens the door to countless fallacies.
      How long will it take until you (and others affected with this horrendous sydrome known as Morbus Rachow) realise that their favourite brand of “science” is corrupt beyond belief?

  17. cherie79 says:

    I saw some articles saying he died from liver cancer but implying it could have been mets from a primary lung cancer due to his long term smoking. They never give up!

  18. slugbop007 says:

    Stay. Great guitar riffs, great song.

  19. slugbop007 says:

    The Public Health zealots are like vultures. Worse, hyenas.

  20. alanxxx says:

    Whenever I remember or come across the expression Beacons of Health, I think of this video:

    And also, read recently that Bowie was first inspired by Little Richard:

    – to this day, I am still surprised that Little Richard was ever legal. Just look into the eyes.

    Some people, like anti smokers, need taking up Canal Street, as we Northerners say.

  21. Pingback: Dying Young, Aged 69 | Frank Davis

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