Sepsis Awareness 6: An Equal Opportunity Illness

The DFW Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation has been coordinating the Sepsis Strike Force over the past five years. Led by Patti Taylor, the DFWHC Foundation’s director of quality and patient safety services, the group is made up of representatives from hospitals across North Texas inspired by the goal to create awareness on the dangers of sepsis in our community. Over the coming months leading to Sepsis Awareness Month in September, the Sepsis Strike Force will post blogs and informational graphics across social media to support their 2021 goal of raising community awareness.

Sadly, Sepsis is an equal opportunity illness. It can affect anyone, no matter their social status, age, wealth or beliefs. Many celebrities and public figures have been affected by sepsis. Some survived their bout with the disease, but others did not.

Oftentimes, media reports on celebrity illnesses or deaths fail to mention sepsis. They report the person died of complications of pneumonia, surgery or cancer.

If someone has died of an infection such as pneumonia or an infection from surgery, they have died from sepsis. If someone develops an infection that is so serious, they must be treated in the hospital with IV fluids and antibiotics, chances are they are battling sepsis.

The following is a list of 20 well-known celebrities who suffered and died from sepsis complications:

Phil Lynott, rock music star, died in 1986;
Heather O’Rourke, actress, died in 1988;
Jim Henson, creator of “The Muppets,” died in 1990;
Lawrence Welk, music composer, died in 1992;
Christopher Reeve, actor, died in 2004;
Anna Nicole Smith, model and actress, died in 2007;
Bernie Mac, actor, died in 2008;
Corey Haim, actor, died in 2010;
Leslie Nielson, actor, died in 2010;
Etta James, blues music star, died in 2012;
Ray Price, country music star, died in 2013;
Casey Kasem, radio personality, died in 2014;
Patty Duke, actress, died in 2016;
George Michael, pop music star, died in 2016;
James Cotton, blues music star, died in 2017;
Hugh Hefner, American magazine publisher, died in 2017;
Mel Tillis, country music star, died in 2017;
R. Lee Emery, actor, died in 2018;
Eddie Money, rock music star, died in 2019;
Tanya Roberts, actress, died in 2021.

If you suspect sepsis, call 9-1-1 or go to a hospital and tell your medical professional, “I AM CONCERNED ABOUT SEPSIS.”