Can You Name the Famous People Who Have Died of Kidney Disease?

Some of our favorite actors, composers, writers, musicians, and athletes have died from kidney disease—many of them, far too soon. The story of Mozart’s death is a fascinating medical mystery, explored in our recent blog post.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer, died 1791 most likely from kidney failure

Famous people who have died of kidney diseaseEmily Dickinson, poet, died 1886 of Bright’s disease

Sarah Bernhardt, actress, died 1923 of  kidney failure

Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild West show entertainer, died 1917 of kidney failure

Jean Harlow, actress, died 1937 of kidney failure and uremic poisoning

Cole Porter, composer, died 1964 of kidney failure

Edgar Bergen, ventriloquist, died 1978 of kidney diease

Dexter Gordon, jazz musician, died 1990 of cancer and kidney failure

Marlene Dietrich, actress, died 1992 of kidney failure

Erma Bombeck, columnist and writer, died 1996 of PKD and transplant complications

James A. Michener, author, died 1997 of kidney failure

Shirley Hemphill, actress, died 1999 of kidney failure

Ronald Townson, singer, died 2001 of diabetes-related kidney failure

Barry White, singer, died 2003 of kidney failure

Julia Child, chef, died 2004 of kidney failure

Billy Preston, singer, died 2006 of kidney failure

Norman Mailer, author, died 2007 of acute kidney failure

Oscar Peterson, jazz musician, died 2007 of kidney failure

Art Buchwald, columnist and writer, died 2007 of kidney failure and diabetes

Bobby Fischer, chess master, died 2008 of kidney failure

Ivan Dixon, actor, died 2008 of kidney failure

Manute Bol, basketball player, died 2010 of acute kidney failure

Gary Coleman, actor, died 2010 of FSGS

Ernest Borgnine, actor, died 2012 of kidney failure

Alex Karras, actor and football player, died 2012 of kidney failure

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Let’s wipe out kidney disease together!



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