Diseases in History

Historical Events

  • 1747-01-31 The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital, London
  • 1933-05-18 Around 5,000 forced deportees in the Soviet Union arrive on Nazino Island; within thirteen weeks most of them will be dead due to disease, cannibalism and violence
  • 1934-01-01 Nazi Germany passes the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring".

Sports History

1949-10-05 Sportswriter Robert Ruark first reports golfing great Bobby Jones's rare spinal disease (syringomyelia) which prevent him from playing any form of golf again

  • 1956-05-01 A doctor in Japan reports an "epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system", marking the official discovery of Minamata disease
  • 1981-06-05 AIDS Epidemic officially begins when US Centers for Disease Control reports on pneumonia affecting five homosexual men in Los Angeles
  • 1981-06-18 Vaccine to prevent hoof & mouth disease announced
  • 1981-08-28 National Centers for Disease Control announces high incidence of Pneumocystis & Kaposi's sarcoma in gay men
  • 1984-04-21 Centers for Disease Cont says virus discovered in France causes AIDS
  • 1984-08-02 Jeff Blatnick becomes first American to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the Los Angeles Olympics, Blatnick was in remission for Hodgkin’s disease
  • 1990-04-24 Gruinard Island, Scotland, is officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine.
  • 1995-01-30 Workers from the National Institutes of Health announce the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.
  • 1996-03-20 UK admits humans can catch CJD (Mad Cow Disease)
  • 1996-03-25 The European Union's Veterinarian Committee bans the export of British beef and its by-products as a result of "mad cow disease" (BSE).
  • 2002-01-14 UK declared free of foot-and-mouth cattle disease
  • 2005-03-04 United Nations warns that about 90 million Africans could be infected by HIV in the future without further action against the spread of the disease.
  • 2010-01-04 The Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed HIV infection from its list of communicable diseases of public health significance.
  • 2012-04-26 Indonesia suspends imports of American beef after a confirmed case of mad cow disease in California
  • 2015-10-28 World Heath Organization ranks Tuberculosis alongside HIV as world's deadliest infectious diseases, killing 1.2 million (2014)

Historic Event

2016-09-21 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledge $3 billion to medical research to "cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century"

  • 2017-08-02 First successful gene editing in human embryos to repair disease-causing mutation reported by scientists in "Nature"
  • 2017-12-11 Landmark trial for Huntington's disease in London announces positive results - first time a drug has been able to slow an incurable brain disorder
  • 2018-01-02 WHO reveals it will classify gaming addiction as mental health condition in its next Classification of Diseases
  • 2018-03-06 "Highest overdose death rates ever recorded in the US", 142,000 overdoses in 2016-17 period according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • 2018-08-15 Record 72,000 Americans (up 10%) killed by drug overdoses in 2017 in new figures by Centers for Disease Control
  • 2018-09-04 WHO reports more than a quarter of people worldwide (1.4 billion) don't get enough physical exercise to avoid major diseases
  • 2019-02-22 Musician Peter Frampton announces he has a degenerative muscular disease and his next tour will be his last
  • 2019-04-17 10 babies with "bubble boy disease" cured using a gene therapy made from HIV at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, according to new study
  • 2019-08-21 Nigeria goes three years without a case of polio in landmark toward eradication of the disease

Historic Event

2019-10-05 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reveals he has a neuromuscular disease, myasthenia gravis, causing him health problems

Music History

2020-01-08 Singer Justin Bieber reveals he has Lyme disease, an infectious disease spread by ticks

  • 2020-03-16 Major League Baseball suspends remainder of Spring Training and delays start of regular season in response to COVID-19 pandemic; return dependent on recommendations by Centers for Disease Control

COVID-19 Pandemic

2020-03-29 US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warns America may see between 100,000 - 200,000 deaths from COVID-19

  • 2020-06-25 US Center of Disease Control estimates 20 million people in America have been infected with COVID-19, 10 times higher than confirmed cases
  • 2020-07-06 Zoonotic diseases, which jump from animals to humans, are increasing due to unsustainable farming and climate change according to new report by the UN
  • 2021-08-09 Cholera outbreak in Nigeria has killed more than 800 people with 31,425 suspected cases since January 2021 according to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control [1]

Famous Birthdays

  • 1756-09-07 Willem Bilderdijk, Dutch poet and literature (Disease of Scientists), born in Amsterdam (d. 1831)
  • 1789-09-28 Richard Bright, English physician (Bright's Disease/nephritis), born in Bristol, England (d. 1858)
  • 1807-10-22 Magnus Huss, Swedish physician who coined the word alcoholism and was the first to define it as a disease, born in Torps, Västernorrland county, Sweden (d. 1890)
  • 1814-01-11 James Paget, English surgeon (disease of Paget)
  • 1822-02-22 Adolf Kuszmaul, German physician (stomach pump, Kuszmaul disease)
  • 1836-07-20 Thomas Allbutt, English physiologist (Diseases of the Heart), born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire (d. 1925)
  • 1895-10-30 Dickinson W. Richards, American physician (Nobel 1956 - development of cardiac catheterization and the characterisation of a number of cardiac diseases), born in Orange, New Jersey (d. 1973)
  • 1901-02-20 René Jules Dubos, French US microbiologist/author (Health & Disease)

Joseph Gilbert HamiltonJoseph Gilbert Hamilton (1907-1957)

1907-11-11 American physician who was a pioneer of using radioactive isotopes in disease treatment and diagnosis, born in Waverley, Massachusetts

  • 1920-10-29 Baruj Benacerraf, Venezuelan-American immunologist (Nobel 1980 - discovery of genes that regulate immune responses and of the role that some of these genes play in autoimmune diseases), born in Caracas, Venezuela (d. 2011)
  • 1922-02-22 William J. Baumol, American economist (Baumol’s cost disease), born in South Bronx, New York (d. 2017)
  • 1924-06-14 James Black, Scottish pharmacologist, developer of treatments for heart disease (propranolol) and stomach ulcers (cimetidine) (Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1988), born in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, Scotland (d. 2010)
  • 1925-07-03 Michael Oliver, British cardiologist (linked cholesterol with coronary artery disease), born in Borth, Wales (d. 2015)
  • 1947-12-02 Ivan Atanassov Petrov, Bulgarian neurologist (research on biopsy investigation of muscle and peripheral nerves in neuromuscular diseases), born in Sofia, Bulgaria

Famous Deaths

Deaths 1 - 100 of 186

  • 0311-05-05 Galerius, Emperor of Rome (305-311) ended persecution of Christianity in the East, dies of disease

Francisco Vázquez de CoronadoFrancisco Vázquez de Coronado (1510-1554)

1554-09-22 Spanish explorer and conquistador who led 1st European expedition to discover the Grand Canyon, dies of disease at about 44

Matthew FlindersMatthew Flinders (1774-1814)

1814-07-18 English explorer, Navigator and cartographer who was 1st to circumnavigate Australia, dies from kidney disease at 40 [1]

Ludwig van BeethovenLudwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

1827-03-26 German composer (5th Symphony, Ode to Joy), dies of liver disease at 56

Thomas MalthusThomas Malthus (1766-1834)

1834-12-23 British economist and demographer (Law of Malthus), dies of heart disease at 68

  • 1858-12-16 Richard Bright, English physician (Bright's disease/nephritis), dies at 69
  • 1860-06-29 Thomas Addison, English physician (A-Biermer Disease), dies at 67
  • 1874-01-14 Johann Philipp Reis, German Physicist and Inventor, dies of lung disease at 40
  • 1884-02-14 Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, 1st wife of Theodore Roosevelt, dies of Bright's disease at 22
  • 1886-04-27 Henry Hobson Richardson, American Romanesque revival architect (Thomas Crane Public Library), dies of Bright's disease at 47

Franz LisztFranz Liszt (1811-1886)

1886-07-31 Hungarian romantic composer and virtuoso pianist (Faust Symphony), dies of heart disease at 74

  • 1890-04-22 Magnus Huss, Swedish physician who coined the word alcoholism and was the first to define it as a disease, dies at 82
  • 1893-04-27 John Ballance, 14th Prime Minister of New Zealand & the founder of the Liberal Party, dies of intestinal disease after a major surgical operation at 54
  • 1899-12-30 James Paget, English surgeon (disease of Paget), dies at 85
  • 1909-04-09 Helena Modrzejewska, Polish-American actress, dies from Bright's disease at 68
  • 1910-03-20 James Hogan, Irish College Football Hall of Fame tackle (Yale), dies of Bright's disease at 37

Gustav MahlerGustav Mahler (1860-1911)

1911-05-18 Austrian composer (Symphony No. 2 - "Resurrection"), and conductor (New York Philharmonic, 1909-11), dies of heart disease at 50

  • 1913-07-31 John Milne, British geologist (developed the first modern seismograph), dies of Bright's disease at 62
  • 1914-08-06 Ellen Axson Wilson, US 1st Lady (1913-14), dies during Woodrow Wilson's 1st term of Bright's Disease at 54

Victor TrumperVictor Trumper (1877-1915)

1915-06-28 Australian Cricket Batsman (48 Tests, top score 214; key figure foundation of rugby league in Australia), dies of Bright's disease at 37

  • 1924-03-07 Pat Moran, American baseball player and manager (Cincinnati Reds), dies of Bright's Disease at 48
  • 1925-02-22 Thomas Allbutt, English physiologist (Diseases of the Heart), dies at 88
  • 1927-10-22 Ross Youngs, American Baseball HOF right fielder (World Series 1921, 22; NY Giants), dies of Bright's disease at 30
  • 1929-08-02 Mae Costello [Altschuk], American actress (The Joys of a Jealous Wife), dies of heart disease at 47
  • 1939-06-16 Chick Webb, American jazz drummer and big band leader (introduced Ella Fitzgerald), dies of Pott's disease (tuberculosis of the spine), at 34
  • 1939-09-24 Carl Laemmle, German-born American film producer (Universal Pictures), dies of cardiovascular disease at 72

Lou GehrigLou Gehrig (1903-1941)

1941-06-02 American Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman (6 x World Series, 2 x AL MVP; 7 x MLB All Star; NY Yankees), dies of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease at 37

John CurtinJohn Curtin (1885-1945)

1945-07-05 Victoria, 14th Prime Minister of Australia (Labor: 1941-45), dies of heart disease at 60

John J. PershingJohn J. Pershing (1860-1948)

1948-07-15 American general and World War I commander, dies of coronary artery disease at 87

  • 1950-12-02 Constantin "Dinu" Lipatti, Romanian classical pianist and composer, dies of Hodgkins disease complications at 33

Joseph Gilbert HamiltonJoseph Gilbert Hamilton (1907-1957)

1957-02-18 American Physician who was a pioneer of using radioactive isotopes in disease treatment and diagnosis, dies of radiation induced leukemia at 49

  • 1958-12-01 Patricia "Boots" Mallory, American dancer and actress (Handle With Care), dies from chronic throat disease at 45
  • 1962-08-23 Irving Fine, American composer (Toccata), dies of heart disease at 47
  • 1963-10-15 Horton Smith. American golfer (US Masters 1934, 36), dies of Hodgkin's disease at 55
  • 1964-05-03 Diana Wynyard, British stage and film actress (Cavalcade), dies of renal disease at 58

Joseph ErlangerJoseph Erlanger (1874-1965)

1965-12-05 American physiologist (shock therapy-Nobel 1944), dies of heart disease at 91

Albert StevensAlbert Stevens (1887-1996)

1966-01-09 an American patient in secret medical trials who survived the highest known radiation dose in a human, dies of heart disease at 79

Primo CarneraPrimo Carnera (1906-1967)

1967-06-29 Italian boxer (World Heavyweight Champion 1933-34), dies of alcohol-related liver disease at 60

Woody GuthrieWoody Guthrie (1912-1967)

1967-10-03 American folk singer-songwriter (This Land Is Your Land) and peace activist, dies of Huntington's disease at 55

  • 1968-07-01 Virginia Weidler, American child actress (Babes on Broadway, All This & Heaven Too), dies of heart disease at 42
  • 1969-07-07 Gladys Swarthout, American mezzo-soprano (La Gioconda), dies of heart disease at 68
  • 1970-07-31 Booker Ervin [Booker Telleferro Ervin II], American saxophonist (Charles Mingus), dies of kidney disease at 39

François DuvalierFrançois Duvalier (1907-1971)

1971-04-21 Dictator and President of Haiti (1957-71), dies of heart disease and diabetes at 64

  • 1973-02-23 Dickinson W. Richards, American physician (Nobel 1956 - development of cardiac catheterization and the characterisation of a number of cardiac diseases), dies at 77
  • 1974-06-16 Mauritz Hugo, Swedish actor (Atomic Blonde, Death Valley Gunfighter), dies from heart disease at 65
  • 1974-12-26 Farid al-Atrash [El-Atrache], Syrian composer, musician, virtuoso oud player, and actor (Akher kedba), dies of heart disease at 59
  • 1976-01-29 Jesse Fuller, American one-man blues band ("San Francisco Bay Blues"), dies of heart disease at 80
  • 1976-03-06 Maxie Rosenbloom, American boxer, actor (world light heavyweight champion 1932-34), dies of Paget's disease of bone at 68
  • 1981-03-02 Janear Hines, American actress (Julia - "Roberta"), dies of Bright's disease at 30
  • 1981-07-07 Keefe Brasselle [John Brasselli], American actor (The Eddie Cantor Story, Be Our Guest), dies of liver disease at 58

Henry FondaHenry Fonda (1905-1982)

1982-08-12 American stage and screen actor (Mr. Roberts; 12 Angry Men; On Golden Pond), dies of heart disease at 77

George BalanchineGeorge Balanchine (1904-1983)

1983-04-30 Russian-American ballet composer and choreographer who founded the New York City Ballet, dies from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease at 79

David NivenDavid Niven (1910-1983)

1983-07-29 British actor (Around the World in 80 Days, Rugues), dies in Switzerland of Lou Gehrig's disease at 73

  • 1984-05-01 Gordon Jenkins, American arranger and orchestra leader (Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra), dies of Lou Gehrig's disease at 73
  • 1984-08-08 Richard Deacon, American actor (The Dick Van Dyke Show - "Mel Cooley"), dies of cardiovascular disease at 62
  • 1984-11-07 George Mathews, American stage and screen character actor (The Eve of St. Mark; Glynis - "Chick"), dies of heart disease at 73
  • 1985-04-23 Kent Smith, American actor (Peyton Place, Invaders), dies from heart disease at 78
  • 1988-02-28 Harvey Kuenn, American baseball utility (AL batting champion 1959; 10 × All-Star 1953–1960²; Detroit Tigers), dies from heart disease and diabetes at 57
  • 1988-05-01 Ben Lexcen, Australian yacht designer (Australia II 1983 America's Cup), dies of heart disease at 52
  • 1989-01-08 Kenneth McMillan, American actor (Malone, Concrete Beat), dies of liver disease at 56
  • 1989-05-19 Robert Webber, American actor (12 Angry Men, Moonlighting, 79 Park Avenue), dies of Lou Gehrig's disease at 64
  • 1989-05-29 John Cipollina, American rock guitarist (Quicksilver Messenger Service), dies from a longterm lung disease at 45
  • 1989-06-09 Rashid Behbudov, Azerbaijani singer and actor, dies of kidney disease at 73
  • 1990-06-02 Walter Davis Jr., American hard bop pianist (Davis Cup, Illumination), dies of liver and kidney disease at 57
  • 1990-07-17 Bernard Cowan, TV announcer, dies of kidney disease at 68
  • 1990-08-15 Lew DeWitt, American country singer and composer (Statler Brothers - "Flowers on the Wall"), dies of Crohn's disease complications at 52
  • 1990-10-15 Delphine Seyrig, French actress (Freak Orlando, Reperages), dies of lung disease at 58

John BardeenJohn Bardeen (1908-1991)

1991-01-30 American physicist, electrical engineer and co-inventor of the transistor (Nobel 1956, 1972), dies of heart disease at 82

  • 1991-08-10 Josef Lipski, Polish Senator, anti-Communist dissident, and human rights advocate, dies of heart disease at 65
  • 1991-10-17 "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, American country music singer ("Sixteen Tons"), and actor (I Love Lucy; The Ford Show), dies of liver disease at 72
  • 1992-03-27 Anita Colby [Counihan], American model, actress (Mary of Scotland; Cover Girl; Pepsi Cola Playhouse), beauty coach, and inventor (chair-bed), dies of lung disease at 77
  • 1993-10-07 Cyril Cusack, South African actor (Day of the Jackal, Fahrenheit 451), dies of neuron disease at 82
  • 1995-03-20 John Minton [Big John Studd], American pro wrestler (Royal Rumble 1989), dies from liver cancer and Hodgkin's disease at 47
  • 1995-05-02 Michael Hordern, British actor (Watership Down, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold), dies from kidney disease at 83
  • 1996-02-26 Mieczysław Weinberg [Moisey Samuilovich Vaynberg], Polish-Soviet composer, dies from Crohn's disease at 77
  • 1996-02-27 Pat Smythe, English equestrian rider (Olympic bronze team jumps 1956; author children's books), dies from heart disease at 67
  • 1996-07-24 Virginia Christine [Ricketts], American actress (Mrs Olson, Tales of Wells Fargo), dies of cardiovascular disease at 76
  • 1996-10-02 Banjo Matthews, American auto racer, owner and constructor (A. J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough), dies of heart and respiratory disease at 64
  • 1996-11-11 Jo Baker, American blues-rock vocalist (Elvin Bishop), dies of liver disease at 48
  • 1997-02-01 Marjorie Reynolds [Goodspeed], American actress & dancer (Holiday Inn; Life of Riley), dies from congestive heart disease at 79
  • 1997-03-10 (Dolores) LaVern Baker [Evans], American pop and R&B vocalist ("Jim Dandy"; "I Cried A Tear"), dies of cardiovascular disease at 67

James Earl RayJames Earl Ray (1928-1998)

1998-04-23 American assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., dies while still under detention of complications related to kidney disease and liver failure caused by hepatitis C at 70

  • 1998-06-21 Al Campanis, Greek baseball second baseman and executive (first Greek player in MLB history; GM LA Dodgers 1968-87), dies from coronary artery disease at 81
  • 1998-10-01 Pauline Julien, Canadian singer-songwriter, social and political activist, takes her own life after a brain disease diagnosis, at 70
  • 1998-11-08 Jean Marais, French actor (Donkey Skin, Orpheus), dies of cardio-vascular disease at 84
  • 1999-07-04 Ronny Graham [Stringer], American composer, lyricist, screenwriter (M*A*S*H (TV series), and actor (Chico & the Man; Mel Brooks films), dies of liver disease at 79
  • 1999-09-09 Jim "Catfish" Hunter, American Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (MLB All-Star 1966, 67, 70, 72–1976; World Series 1972–74, 77, 78; AL Cy Young Award 1974; Oakland A's, NY Yankees), dies from Lou Gehrig's disease at 53
  • 1999-11-13 Don "Sugarcane" Harris, American rock guitarist and electric violin pioneer (Don & Dewey; Frank Zappa), dies of pulmonary disease at 61 [1]
  • 2000-01-20 (John) Don Abney, American session and touring jazz pianist, and musical director, dies of kidney disease at 76
  • 2000-07-01 Michael "Cub" Koda, American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist (Brownsville Station - "Smokin' In The Boys Room'), dies of kidney disease at 50M
  • 2000-08-30 Willie Maddren, English soccer defender (Middlesborough 293 games) and manager (Middlesborough 1984-86), dies from motor neurone disease at 49
  • 2002-01-02 Margaret "Bibi" Osterwald, American actress (As Good as It Gets, Bridget Loves Bernie), dies of lung disease at 83
  • 2002-06-22 Darryl Kile, American baseball pitcher (MLB All-Star 1993, 97, 2000; no-hitter 1993; Houston Astros), dies of coronary disease at 33

Richard HarrisRichard Harris (1930-2002)

2002-10-25 Irish actor (A Man Called Horse, This Sporting Life) and singer ("MacArthur Park"), dies of Hodgkin's disease at 72

  • 2002-11-05 Billy Guy [Frank Phillips], American baritone pop singer (The Coasters, 1955-73 - "Charlie Brown"; "Youngblood"), and record producer, dies of cardiovascular disease at 66
  • 2002-11-05 Vinnette Carroll, American actress and 1st African-American woman to direct on Broadway (1972: Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope), dies of heart disease and diabetes at 80
  • 2002-11-07 Margaret "Peg" Phillips, American actress (Northern Exposure -"Ruth-Anne"; ER; 7th Heaven), dies of lung disease at 84

Dolly the SheepDolly the Sheep (1996-2003)

2003-02-14 first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, dies young from a progressive lung disease aged 6

  • 2003-07-25 Erik Brann [Braunn], American violin prodigy and rock guitarist (Iron Butterfly - "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"), dies of congenital heart disease at 52
  • 2003-08-18 Tony Jackson, British bass player (The Searchers, 1962-64 - "Sugar And Spice"), dies from a combination of diabetes, heart disease, and cirrhosis of the liver at 65