Short and sweet this week, it’s faaaar to hot to write, let alone read! But we do have some points to dole out. Both Trish and Dave correctly guessed that Larry Storch would pass away this year, so 51 points each! Well done both of you!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Mona Hammond, 91, Jamaican-born British actress (EastEnders, Desmonds, Us Girls).
- Lenny Von Dohlen, 63, American actor (Twin Peaks, Electric Dreams, Home Alone 3).
- James Caan, 82, American actor (The Godfather, Thief, Misery).
- Shinzo Abe, 67, Japanese politician, prime minister and MP (since 1996), shot.
- Gregory Itzin, 74, American actor (24, The Mentalist, Lincoln), complications from surgery.
- Tony Sirico, 79, American actor (The Sopranos, Goodfellas, Wonder Wheel).
- Larry Storch, 99, American actor (F Troop, Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, Sabrina the Teenage Witch).
- Brian Jackson, 91, British actor (Carry On Sergeant, Some Like It Cool, Revenge of the Pink Panther, The Man from Del Monte), cancer
- L. Q. Jones, 94, American actor (The Wild Bunch, Hang ‘Em High) and film director (A Boy and His Dog).
In Other News
Declan Donnelly has revealed his “heartbreak” at the sudden death of his older brother. Dermott Donnelly, 55, was a Catholic priest, based at St Joseph’s Church in Stanley, County Durham. It is reported that he died peacefully in hospital on Friday afternoon after collapsing on Thursday evening. Television presenter Declan, 46, broke the sad news on Twitter via the Ant and Dec account: “I am heartbroken to tell you that my darling brother Fr Dermott, @TweeterPriest, sadly passed away this afternoon. We are all beyond devastated. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they are appreciated DD.” Dermott had officiated at his younger brother’s 2015 wedding to Ali Astall. The pair had five other siblings. A statement by the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle said Dermott had suffered a short illness: “This has come as a great shock to all of us… Please pray for the repose of his soul and keep his family, especially his mother, in your prayers at this difficult time.” It had been reported earlier today that Declan had “rushed” to hospital to be by his sibling’s side. A spokesperson for Declan confirmed the death, writing: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of Fr Dermott Donnelly who died peacefully this afternoon in hospital surrounded by his family and close friends. We ask for the utmost privacy for the Donnelly family at this difficult time.”
On This Day
- 1553 – Lady Jane Grey takes the throne of England.
- 1938 – Howard Hughes begins a 91-hour airplane flight around the world that will set a new record.
- 1962 – Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched into orbit.
- 1985 – The Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior is bombed and sunk in Auckland harbour by French DGSE agents.
- 1991 – Boris Yeltsin takes office as the first elected President of Russia.
- 2019 – The last Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the line in Puebla, Mexico.
- 138 – Hadrian, Roman emperor (b. 76).
- 1806 – George Stubbs, English painter and academic (b. 1724).
- 1851 – Louis Daguerre, French photographer & physicist, invented the daguerreotype (b. 1787).
- 1989 – Mel Blanc, American voice actor (b. 1908).
- 2015 – Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor (b. 1932).
- 2020 – Jack Charlton, English footballer and manager (b. 1935).
The Process of Death
Dying can be a gradual process, including when someone has a serious illness. If someone is receiving good care, it can be quite a peaceful time — a time during which the body lets go of life. What happens varies between people, but this article describes how people’s bodies generally change as they die.
So what is the physical process of dying?
In most people who are dying, the body’s normal systems start to operate more slowly. The heart beats a little more slowly, or with a little less force, and so blood is moved around the body more slowly. This means the brain and the other organs receive less oxygen than they need, and do not function as well.
When the brain receives less oxygen than it should, the way the person who is dying thinks and reacts to situations is also affected. Hormones are also affected, which influences the way in which other organs function.
A few weeks before death, most people who are dying feel tired. They may want to sleep more often, or for longer periods. They may want to talk less, although some may want to talk more.
They may want to eat less or eat different foods since their stomach and digestive system are slowing down.
Someone who is dying may also lose weight and their skin might become thinner. The body now finds it hard to regenerate skin cells, as well as other organs, in the way it used to.
In the days before their death, a person’s control over their breathing starts to fail. They may breathe more slowly for a while, then more quickly, and so their breathing becomes quite unpredictable overall. Fluid can start to gather in their lungs, and the breathing can begin to sound quite ‘rattly’. They might cough, but not very deeply.
Some people have a burst of energy in the 24 hours before they die, sitting up and talking normally for a short period.
Often, people’s skin colour changes in the days before death as the blood circulation declines. They can become paler or greyer or their skin can become mottled.
With the loss of oxygen to their brain, they might become vague and sleepy. Some people have hallucinations and talk to ‘people’ who aren’t there. Some become unconscious a few days before they die.
Someone who is close to death will spend most of the time asleep. They may not be able to communicate when they are awake because their senses are failing. However, they may still be able to hear, so speak to them normally.
Physical signs that death is near include:
- a sudden burst of energy
- mottled and blotchy skin, especially on the hands, feet and knees.
- blood pressure decreases
- they cannot swallow
- less urine
- difficult breathing
- congested lungs
In the hours before death, most people fade as the blood supply to their body declines further. They sleep a lot, their breathing becomes very irregular, and their skin becomes cool to the touch. Those who do not lose consciousness in the days before death usually do so in the hours before. Most people are very calm at this time, although some may be agitated, especially if they are finding it hard to breathe.
Other symptoms in the hours before death include:
- glassy, teary eyes that may be half-open
- cold hands
- weak pulse
- being fast asleep
- gasping, or periods where breathing completely stops
In time, the heart stops and they stop breathing. Within a few minutes, their brain stops functioning entirely and their skin starts to cool. At this point, they have died.
Human decomposition begins around four minutes after a person dies and follows four stages: autolysis, bloat, active decay, and skeletonisation.
The first stage of human decomposition is called autolysis, or self-digestion, and begins immediately after death. As soon as blood circulation and respiration stop, the body has no way of getting oxygen or removing wastes. Excess carbon dioxide causes an acidic environment, causing membranes in cells to rupture. The membranes release enzymes that begin eating the cells from the inside out.
Rigor mortis causes muscle stiffening. Small blisters filled with nutrient-rich fluid begin appearing on internal organs and the skin’s surface. The body will appear to have a sheen due to ruptured blisters, and the skin’s top layer will begin to loosen.
Stage two of human decomposition consists of bloating to the body. Leaked enzymes from the first stage begin producing many gases. Due to the gases, the human body can double in size, giving it that bloated look.The sulfur-containing compounds that the bacteria release also cause skin discolouration. In addition, insect activity can be present.
The microorganisms and bacteria produce extremely unpleasant odours called putrefaction. These odours often alert others that a person has died, and can linger long after a body has been removed.
During stage three, fluids released through orifices indicate the beginning of active decay. Organs, muscles, and skin become liquefied. When all of the body’s soft tissue decomposes, hair, bones, cartilage, and other byproducts of decay remain. The cadaver loses the most mass during this stage.
Then finally to stage four. Because the skeleton has a decomposition rate based on the loss of organic (collagen) and inorganic components, there is no set timeframe when skeletonisation occurs.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Chiwetel Ejiofor (45), Sofía Vergara (50), Peter Serafinowicz (50), John Simm (52), Kelly McGillis (65), Tom Hanks (66), Jimmy Smits (67), Pamela Adlon (56), Scott Grimes (51), Fred Savage (46), Courtney Love (58), Richard Wilson (86), O.J. Simpson (75), Kevin Bacon (64), Anjelica Huston (71), Jeffrey Tambor (78), Jaden Smith (24), Pauline Quirke(63), Jack Whitehall (34), Shelley Duvall (73), Ringo Starr (82), Kevin Hart (43), Sylvester Stallone (76), Eva Green (42), Jennifer Saunders (64), Geoffrey Rush (71), Burt Ward (77), Edie Falco (59), Huey Lewis (72), Post Malone (27), and Neil Morrissey (60).