Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Nadja Regin, 87, Serbian actress (From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Runaway).
- Seymour Cassel, 84, American actor (Faces, The Royal Tenenbaums, Dick Tracy), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sandy Ratcliff, 70, English actress (EastEnders).
- Rex Garrod, 75, British roboteer (Brum, Robot Wars) and television presenter (The Secret Life of Machines), complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
- Ian Cognito, 60, British stand-up comedian, heart attack.
- Tommy Smith, 74, English footballer (Liverpool, national team), dementia.
In Other News
The Dalai Lama has been discharged from a Delhi hospital, three days after being admitted with a chest infection. The Tibetan spiritual leader, 83, had suffered from a “light cough” but was “doing very well”, his spokesman said. “He was discharged from the hospital at eight o’clock in the morning,” his spokesman Tenzin Taklha told us on Friday. The Dalai Lama is expected to spend several days resting in Delhi before returning to Dharamsala. China, which took control of Tibet in 1950, views the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist. The question of who will succeed him when he dies is highly contentious. In Tibetan Buddhist belief, the soul of its most senior lama is reincarnated into the body of a child, so this poses a little problem when awarding points when the elder lama dies/lives again.
As you saw from the list above, the veteran stand-up comedian Ian Cognito has died on stage during a performance. The 60-year-old comic sat down on a stool while breathing heavily, before falling silent for five minutes during his show on Thursday. Compere Andrew Bird said the crowd at the The Atic bar in Bicester had thought it was a joke, and continued to laugh, unaware something was wrong. South Central Ambulance Service confirmed Cognito was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Bird, who runs the Lone Wolf Comedy Club event at the venue, said Cognito had not been feeling well before the gig started, but insisted on going on stage. “He was like his old self, his voice was loud. I was thinking ‘he’s having such a good gig’,” Mr Bird said. Mr Bird said Cognito had even joked about his health during his set, telling the audience: “Imagine if I died in front of you lot here.” It was Mr Bird who first went on stage to check if his fellow comedian was ok. “Everyone in the crowd, me included, thought he was joking,” he said. “Even when I walked on stage and touched his arm I was expecting him to say ‘boo’.” Once it became clear something was wrong, two off-duty A&E nurses and a police officer began chest compressions and an ambulance was called. Audience member John Ostojak said: “Only 10 minutes before he sat down he joked about having a stroke. “He said, ‘imagine having a stroke and waking up speaking Welsh’.” Mr Ostojak said: “We came out feeling really sick, we just sat there for five minutes watching him, laughing at him.” Mr Bird said dying on stage would have been the way the veteran comic “would have wanted to go”, “except he’d want more money and a bigger venue”.
I hope you’re not feeling squeamish! A Taiwanese woman was found by doctors to have four small sweat bees living inside her eye, the first such incident on the island. The 28-year-old woman, identified only as Ms He, was pulling out weeds when the insects flew into her eyes. Dr Hong Chi Ting of the Fooyin University Hospital told the BBC he was “shocked” when he pulled the 4mm insects out by their legs. Ms He has now been discharged and is expected to make a full recovery. Sweat bees, also known as Halictidae, are attracted to sweat and sometimes land on people to imbibe perspiration. They also drink tears for their high protein content, according to a study by the Kansas Entomological Society. Ms He was weeding around her relatives’ graves when the insects flew into her left eye. She was visiting the grave as part of the annual Chinese Qing Ming tomb-sweeping festival, which is traditionally observed by sprucing up loved ones’ graves. When a gust of wind blew into her eyes she assumed it was dirt that had entered, she told reporters. But hours later, her eyes were still swollen and in pain, leading her to seek medical help at the hospital in southern Taiwan. “She couldn’t completely close her eyes. I looked into the gap with a microscope and saw something black that looked like an insect leg,” Dr Hong, an ophthalmology professor at the hospital told us. “I grabbed the leg and very slowly took one out, then I saw another one, and another and another. They were still intact and all alive.” “These bees don’t usually attack people but they like drinking sweat, hence their name,” he said. Dr Hong added that Ms He was “lucky” that she did not rub her eyes while the bees were inside. “She was wearing contact lenses so she didn’t dare to rub her eyes in case she broke the lens. If she did she could have induced the bees to produce venom… she could have gone blind.” But what’s happened to the bees? “They are still alive, they’ve been sent as specimens to another organisation and will be studied,” said Dr Hong. “This is the first time in Taiwan we’ve seen something like this.”
On This Day
- 1561 – A celestial phenomenon is reported over Nuremberg, described as an aerial UFO battle.
- 1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln died the next day.
- 1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 23:40 (sinks morning of April 15th).
- 1944 – Bombay explosion: A massive explosion in Bombay harbour kills 300 and causes economic damage valued then at 20 million pounds.
- 1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded (1 kilogram (2.2 lbs)) fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
- 1999 – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history.
- 1999 – Anthony Newley, English singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1931)
- 2000 – Phil Katz, American computer programmer, created the zip file format (b. 1962)
- 2015 – Percy Sledge, American singer (b. 1940)
Last Week’s Birthdays
William Sadler (69), Ron Perlman (69), Edward Fox (82), Erick Avari (67), Peter Davison (68), Saoirse Ronan (25), Jennifer Morrison (40), Andy Garcia (63), Claire Danes (40), Ed O’Neill (73), Shannen Doherty (48), Nicholas Brendon (48), David Letterman (72), Matt Ryan (38), Joss Stone (32), Jeremy Clarkson (59), Lisa Stansfield (53), Jill Gascoine (82), David Harbour (44), Charlie Hunnam (39), Haley Joel Osment (31), Daisy Ridley (27), Steven Seagal (67), Max von Sydow (90), Peter MacNicol (65), Kristen Stewart (29), Dennis Quaid (65), Cynthia Nixon (53), Patricia Arquette (51), Robin Wright (53), Dean Norris (56), Russell Crowe (55), Jackie Chan (65), and Francis Ford Coppola (80).