The host of TV’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? suffered a stroke recently during an 11-hour flight home to England from Thailand. But when it comes to strokes, the list of celebrity victims goes far beyond Chris Tarrant.
Some of the names on the long list are surprising; and among them are movie stars, politicians, authors and sports figures.
Sharon Stone may seem an unlikely victim. The beautiful star of movies such as Basic Instinct and Casino suffered a stroke in 2001 at the relatively young age of 39. She has not let the event slow her down, however, and has continued acting since then.
Recording artist and star of Touched by an Angel, Della Reese, was struck by an aneurysm during her appearance on The Tonight Show. A broken blood vessel in her brain sent her to the hospital, where she not only survived, but later became a spokesperson for the National Stroke Association.
The literary world suffered a great loss when Charles Dickens fell victim to a fatal stroke at the age of 58. The author of such novels as Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities died a day after suffering a stroke on June 8, 1870.
Even presidents are not immune to strokes. When talking to his secretary in November of 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower found he had trouble speaking. A medical examination revealed that he had an occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery. He returned to his presidency after three days of rest, not yet fully recovered. He finished the three years remaining in his second term.
President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke on October 2, 1919, that left him partially paralyzed and marked the end of his career. Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a massive stroke on April 12, 1945. Other presidents suffering strokes after leaving office were John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Chester A. Arthur, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Stroke’s list of celebrity victims goes far beyond Chris Tarrant to include a surprising number of sports figures.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang found himself undergoing symptoms of dizziness and nausea last January 29. A medical checkup revealed his troubles were the result of a stroke. He is expected to make a full recovery and may even be back on the ice before the end of this season.
New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi woke up one morning noticing a lack of balance and numbness in his left side. He ignored the symptoms at first, but soon suffered from a headache and blurred vision. Rushed to the hospital, he was diagnosed with Patent Foramen Ovale, or PFO, a form of stroke. POV is a congenital condition that affects a number of young people. Bruschi returned to the gridiron after successful surgery sealed a hole in his heart.
Some other celebrity athletes that have suffered strokes are baseball standouts Ted Williams, Willie Stargell and Kirby Puckett. Doctors point to the stress associated with athletic events as a likely cause of strokes in some athletes.
The host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? may be the latest, when it comes to strokes, the list of celebrity victims goes far beyond Chris Tarrant.
By B. David Warner