Dead Pool 15th October 2023

Another week flies by, Michael Caine retired, and we all know what happens to active people when they retire…

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Mark Steel has been diagnosed with throat cancer, the stand-up comedian has revealed in a first-person piece published on Monday 9th October. Steel, 63, described the moment his diagnosis was confirmed as “one of the happiest moments in my life” as it preceded an agonising wait for his biopsy results that were initially “lost in transit”. He shared that, while the cancer had spread to his lymph glands, it is “very treatable” and no longer “as final as being beheaded”. Steel added he hopes to return to performing onstage in around six months, in an article first shared on his website. He wrote: “I’m writing this a few days from an operation that I hope will confirm the location of the cancer, from which a programme of treatment can begin. The current estimate is that I should be able to start performing again in about six months.” The English presenter recalled he first noticed how one side of his neck was “looking much bigger than the other” somewhere around the middle of June. “I Googled ‘Why is one side of my neck suddenly much larger than the other?’” he continued. “Most of the answers suggested there’s nothing to worry about “unless it hasn’t gone down after two weeks”. After two weeks I told myself it had sort of gone down, in that it was only a bit bigger.” After an initial consultation with his doctor, Steel was booked in for a scan before being advised to undergo a fine needle aspirational biopsy – as he grappled with the fear that “that’s how cancer starts”. He continued: “A few days later I had a phone appointment with a doctor. He asked if I’d suddenly lost weight, if I had night sweats, couldn’t swallow properly, was out of breath, had blood in my mouth, did I smoke, how much did I drink? These were unsubtle cancer questions, as obvious as a detective leaning towards you in a cell and asking if you have any evidence you were alone at home on the night of the murder.” After his biopsy, Steel was told its results would be shared in “around seven days”, with the podcast host growing more optimistic that the lump wasn’t cancer when he still hadn’t heard back from the doctor’s office in five days. “Several people had told me that if the results were ominous, I would hear quickly. So when five days passed, I felt confident. When it got to 12 days, I rang the hospital cheerily and was told the biopsy was still being checked,” he said. Shortly after, he was informed that the results of his biopsy had been “lost in transit” and he would need to undergo a repeat biopsy to determine what stage of cancer he has. “’Hang on,’ I said, ‘No one has said it’s definitely cancer, are you saying it’s definitely cancer?’ Steel asked a member of the hospital staff.’ After the biopsy was found at a different hospital, Steel learned he had secondary cancer – meaning he had cancer in two places. Eventually, he learned that the primary cancer is a lump in his throat, which he had initially discovered while shaving in June. “The results of the PET scan, the Rolls-Royce of scans, showed there was no cancer in me outside the neck and throat area, so there should be no reason why a combination of treatments wouldn’t cure it all,” he concluded, adding that “it’s a cancer that can be got rid off”.  

Sharon Osbourne has reminded her children of her and husband Ozzy Osbourne’s plan to die by assisted suicide, if their physical and mental health takes a severe decline. The former music manager, 71, initially discussed her end-of-life plans while promoting her 2007 memoir Survivor: My Story – The Next Chapter. In an interview at the time, Sharon said that she and Ozzy had come to the decision to visit a euthanasia facility in Switzerland, where the practice is legal. “Ozzy and I have absolutely come to the same decision,” she told the Flying Monkeys. “We believe 100 per cent in euthanasia so have drawn up plans to go to the assisted suicide flat in Switzerland if we ever have an illness that affects our brains. If Ozzy or I ever got Alzheimer’s, that’s it – we’d be off.” Sharon confirmed that their position on the matter hadn’t changed on the most recent episode of The Osbournes Podcast, hosted alongside Ozzy, 74, daughter Kelly, 38, and son Jack, 37. “Do you remember when Mum and Dad did that interview, talking about how they were gonna go and die through assisted suicide, and we were like ‘What the fuck is this?’” Kelly asked Jack. Jack replied: “They were like, ‘If we get terminally ill, we’re going to go to Switzerland and assisted suicide ourselves.’ Is that still the plan?” “Do you think that we’re gonna suffer?” Sharon asked, before laughing. To Jack’s proposal that “we’re already all suffering”, she continued: “Yes, we all are, but I don’t want it to actually hurt, as well. “Mental suffering is enough pain without physical. So if you’ve got mental and physical, see ya.” She then clarified that if she had the chance to live longer while struggling with mental and physical issues, she’d decide against it. “What if you survived and you can’t wipe your own ass, you’re pissing everywhere, shitting, can’t eat,” Sharon said. “So, what’s different about your life now?” Kelly joked. Sharon’s strong view on having an assisted death is largely influenced by watching her father, music manager Don Arden, suffer from Alzheimer’s disease before his death in 2007. Then, in 2014, Ozzy spoke of his desire to die by medically assisted suicide in the case of any “life-threatening condition.” “If I can’t live my life the way I’m living it now – and I don’t mean financially – then that’s it…Switzerland,” he told the Flying Monkeys. “If I can’t get up and go to the bathroom myself and I’ve got tubes up my ass and an enema in my throat, then I’ve said to Sharon, ‘Just turn the machine off.’ If I had a stroke and was paralysed, I don’t want to be here. I’ve made a will and it’s all going to Sharon if I die before her, so ultimately it will all go to the kids.”  

Dorothy Hoffner, a 104-year-old Chicago woman whose recent skydive could see her certified by Guinness World Records as the oldest person to ever jump from a plane, has died. Hoffner’s close friend, Joe Conant, said she was found dead on Monday morning by staff at the Brookdale Lake View senior living community. Conant said Hoffner apparently died in her sleep on Sunday night. Conant, who is a nurse, said he met Hoffner – whom he called Grandma at her request – several years ago while he was working as a caregiver for another resident at the senior living centre. He said she had amazing energy and remained mentally sharp. “She was indefatigable. She just kept going,” he said Tuesday. “She was not someone who would take naps in the afternoon, or not show up for any function, dinner or anything else. She was always there, fully present. She kept going, always.” On 1st October, Hoffner made a tandem skydive that could land her in the record books as the world’s oldest skydiver. She jumped out of a plane from 13,500ft at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, 85 miles southwest of Chicago. “Age is just a number,” Hoffner told a cheering crowd moments after landing. It was not her first time jumping from a plane – that happened when she was a spry 100 years of age. Conant said he was working through paperwork to ensure that Guinness World Records certifies Hoffner posthumously as the world’s oldest skydiver, but he expects that will take some time. The current record was set in May 2022 by 103-year-old Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson of Sweden. Conant said Hoffner didn’t skydive to break a record. He said she had so thoroughly enjoyed her first jump that she just wanted to do it again. “She had no intention of breaking the record. And she had no interest in any publicity or anything. She wasn’t doing it for any other reason than she wanted to go skydiving,” he said. Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association celebrated Hoffner in a joint statement Tuesday. “We are deeply saddened by Dorothy’s passing and feel honoured to have been a part of making her world-record skydive a reality. Skydiving is an activity that many of us safely tuck away in our bucket lists. But Dorothy reminds us that it’s never too late to take the thrill of a lifetime. We are forever grateful that skydiving was a part of her exciting, well-lived life,” they said. Conant said Hoffner worked for more than four decades as a telephone operator with Illinois Bell, which later became AT&T, and retired 43 years ago. The lifelong Chicago resident never married, and Conant said she had no immediate family members.

On This Day

  • 1888 – The “From Hell” letter allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper is received by investigators. 
  • 1956 – FORTRAN, the first modern computer language, is first shared with the coding community. 
  • 1970 – During the construction of Australia’s West Gate Bridge, a span of the bridge falls and kills 35 workers. The incident is the country’s worst industrial accident to this day

Deaths

  • 1917 – Mata Hari, Dutch dancer and spy (b. 1876). 
  • 1946 – Hermann Göring, German general and politician (b. 1893). 
  • 1964 – Cole Porter, American composer and songwriter (b. 1891). 
  • 2011 – Betty Driver, English actress, singer, and author (b. 1920). 
  • 2021 – David Amess, British politician, M.P. for Southend West (b. 1952). 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Ncuti Gatwa (31), Dominic West (54), Lori Petty (60), Steve Coogan (58), Cliff Richard (83), Sacha Baron Cohen (52), Christopher Judge (59), Himesh Patel (33), Chris Carter (67), Paul Simon (82), Josh Hutcherson (31), Hugh Jackman (55), Hiroyuki Sanada (63), Les Dennis (69), Robin Askwith (73), Angela Rippon (78), Dan Stevens (41), Rose McIver (35), Charles Dance (77), Sarah Lancashire (59), Manu Bennett (54), Martin Kemp (62), Guillermo del Toro (59), Scott Bakula (69), Tony Shalhoub (70), Chris O’Dowd (44), Brandon Routh (44), Brian Blessed (87), Sharon Osbourne (71). 

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