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Famous People's Cause of Death George Gershwin

About the famous American composer George Gershwin, biography, history and cause of death.

POSTMORTEMS--WHAT THEY DIED FROM

GEORGE GERSHWIN

Born: Sept. 26, 1898

Died: July 11, 1937

Cause of Death: Brain tumor

Physician's Notes: The world-famous composer of such lively tunes as "Swanee" and "I Got Rhythm" and of the appealing "Rhapsody in Blue" was plagued most of his life by chronic constipation. On Feb. 11, 1937, while playing the piano with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he lost consciousness, skipped a few bars, then continued as if nothing had happened. During the blackout he had the curious sensation of smelling burning rubber. Two months later he had the same experience. While working on his fourth film. The Goldwyn Follies, he became listless, confused, and irritable. In June, 1937, violent headaches and dizzy spells became a daily occurrence. The last week in June, he underwent a series of tests but refused to submit to a spinal tap, so the tests were inconclusive. On the morning of July 9, he could play the piano, but at five that afternoon he fell into a stuporous sleep which deepened into coma. Neurosurgeons removed a brain tumor, but he died several hours later without regaining consciousness. A biopsy revealed that the tumor was a fulminating growth; it probably would have recurred even if he had survived the initial operation.

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