Diabetes in History

Historical Events

  • 1922-01-11 Insulin first used on humans to treat diabetes, on Canadian Leonard Thompson, aged 14
  • 1984-08-07 Harmonica Frank [Floyd], American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player dies of lung cancer and diabetes complications at 75

Famous Deaths


Person of interestO. Henry

1910-06-05 O. Henry [William Sydney Porter], American short story writer (Cabbages and Kings), dies of cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes complications and an enlarged heart at 47

Short Story Writer O. Henry
Short Story Writer
O. Henry

Person of interestAlexander Graham Bell

1922-08-02 Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born British American inventor (telephone), dies of diabetes complications at 75

  • 1931-07-18 Oskar Minkowski, German Biologist (pancreas and diabetes), dies at 73

Person of interestEdgar Wallace

1932-02-10 Edgar Wallace, English novelist, playwright and journalist (The Terror, The Four Just Men) who created King Kong, dies of diabetes at 76

  • 1948-07-09 James Baskett, American actor (Song of the South) 1st African American male to receive an Oscar, dies from diabetes at 44

Person of interestB.R. Ambedkar

1956-12-06 B.R. Ambedkar [Baba Saheb], Indian politician, jurist (architect of the Constitution of India) and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement, dies after suffering from diabetes at 65

Jurist and Social Reformer B.R. Ambedkar
Jurist and Social Reformer
B.R. Ambedkar
  • 1960-10-06 Douglas Spencer, American actor (The Thing from Another World, This Island Earth, River of No Return), dies from diabetes at 50

Person of interestFrançois Duvalier

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

Dictator and President of Haiti François Duvalier
Dictator and President of Haiti
François Duvalier
  • 1974-11-25 Rosemary Lane, American actress (An Angel from Texas, 4 Mothers, Harvest Melody), dies from diabetes and pulmonary obstruction at 61
  • 1980-09-09 John Howard Griffin, American photographer, journalist and author (Black Like Me), dies from complications of diabetes at 60
  • 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
  • 1989-05-17 Dan Alderson, American scientist (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and sci-fi fandom figure, dies of diabetes at 47
  • 1990-07-22 George Wood, dies of diabetes complications at 56
  • 1992-02-04 John Dehner [Forkum], American actor (The Right Stuff, Big Hawaii, Bare Essence), dies of emphysema and diabetes at 76
  • 1992-08-25 Alma Graciela Haro Esmerelda, singer, dies of diabetes at 65
  • 1992-10-21 Jackson Weaver, voice of Smokey the Bear, dies of diabetes
  • 1993-11-25 Claudia McNeil, actress (Raisin in the Sun), dies of diabetes at 77
  • 1994-07-02 Marion Williams, American gospel singer (Stars of Faith), dies of diabetes at 66
  • 1995-10-21 Linda Goodman, Morgantown, West Virginia, American astrologer and poet, dies from complications of diabetes at 70
  • 1996-02-08 Del Ennis, American baseball outfielder (MLB All-Star 1946, 51, 55; NL RBI leader 1950; Philadelphia Phillies), dies from complications of diabetes at 70
  • 1998-11-17 Esther Rolle, Bahamian-American actress (Good Times; Maude), dies from complications of diabetes at 78
  • 1999-12-26 Curtis Mayfield, American singer-songwriter and soul musician (Freddie's Dead, Superfly), dies from complications of type 2 diabetes at 57
  • 2000-01-02 Nat Adderley, American jazz musician (Work Song), dies from diabetes complications at 68
  • 2002-03-17 Rosetta LeNoire, American actress (Family Matters, The Brother from Another Planet), dies from diabetes at 90
  • 2002-09-14 LaWanda Page [Alberta Peal], American actress (Aunt Esther-Sanford & Son), dies of complications from diabetes at 81
  • 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
  • 2003-04-17 Earl King, American R&B and blues guitarists, singer, and songwriter ("Come On"; "Big Chief"), dies from diabetes-related complications at 69
  • 2004-02-23 Don Cornell [Luigi Varlaro], American singer (Sammy Kaye Orch, Hold My Hand), dies of emphysema and diabetes at 84
  • 2004-03-26 Jan Sterling [Jane Adriance], American actress (Ace in the Hole, The High and the Mighty), dies of diabetes and a stroke at 82
  • 2004-10-26 Bobby Ávila, Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman (MLB All-Star 1952, 54, 55; AL batting champion 1954; Cleveland Indians), dies of diabetes and lung ailment at 80
  • 2004-12-20 Son [Frank] Seals, American blues musician (Nothing But the Truth) dies from diabetes complications at 62

Person of interestGeorge Mikan

2005-06-01 George Mikan, American Basketball Hall of Fame center (NBA All Star 1951-54; NBL MVP 1948; Minneapolis Lakers), dies of diabetes complications at 80

NBA Center George Mikan
NBA Center
George Mikan
  • 2005-07-04 Hank Stram, American Pro Football Hall of Fame coach (KC Chiefs Super Bowl 1970), dies of diabetes complications at 82

Person of interestDavid Lange

2005-08-13 David Lange, 32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand (Labour: 1984-89), dies of complications associated with renal failure and diabetes at 63

New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange
New Zealand Prime Minister
David Lange
  • 2006-03-06 King Floyd, American soul singer-songwriter (Groove Me), dies of complications of a stroke and diabetes at 61
  • 2007-03-18 Bob Woolmer, England cricket all-rounder, coach (19 Tests, coach Pakistan, South Africa), dies of diabetes at 58
  • 2008-12-13 Horst Tappert, German director, actor and former SS member (Derrick), dies of diabetes at 85
  • 2010-06-06 Marvin Isley, American rock bassist, and songwriter (The Isley Brothers - "Fight The Power"), dies from complications of diabetes at 56)
  • 2011-11-03 Matty Alou, Dominican baseball outfielder (NL batting champion 1966; MLB All-Star 1968-69), dies of diabetes complications at 72
  • 2012-01-09 Malam Bacai Sanhá, President of Guinea-Bissau, dies of diabetes at 64
  • 2012-11-02 Milt Campbell, American decathlete (Olympic gold 1956), dies from prostate cancer and diabetes at 78
  • 2012-12-20 Jimmy McCracklin, American pianist, dies from diabetes and hypertension at 91
  • 2013-03-03 Bobby Rogers, American vocalist, dies from complications from diabetes at 73
  • 2013-04-12 Michael France, American screenwriter, dies from complications from diabetes at 51
  • 2013-06-06 Tom Sharpe, British satirist and author, dies from complications from diabetes at 85
  • 2014-03-29 Billy Mundi [also Tony Schnasse, born Antonio Salas], American session musician and drummer (The Mothers of Invention; Rhinoceros), dies of complications from diabetes at 71
  • 2015-02-21 Bruce Sinofsky, American documentary film director (Brother's Keeper), dies at 58 from diabetes complications
  • 2016-02-29 Aron Burton, American electric and Chicago blues bass guitarist, singer, and songwriter, dies of heart disease and diabetes at 77
  • 2016-03-22 Phife Dawg [Malik Taylor] American rapper (A Tribe called Quest), dies from diabetes complications at 45
  • 2016-06-17 Prince Be [Attrell Cordes], American rapper (PM Dawn), dies from diabetes complications at 46
  • 2017-06-16 Stephen Furst, American actor (Animal House, St. Elsewhere) dies from diabetes complications at 63
  • 2017-09-06 Jim McDaniels, American basketball forward (All American 1971; Western Kentucky Uni; No. 1 overall pick ABA Draft 1971; ABA All-Star 1972; Carolina Cougars), dies from diabetes complications at 69
  • 2018-05-01 Javier Aller, Spanish actor (The Biggest Robbery Never Told), dies at 46 of complications from diabetes
  • 2018-06-03 Clarence Fountain, American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer (The Blind Boys of Alabama), dies of complications of diabetes at 88
  • 2019-02-01 Wade Wilson, American NFL quarterback (Super Bowl 1995, Dallas Cowboys; Pro Bowl 1988, Minnesota Vikings), dies of complications from Type 1 Diabetes at 60
  • 2019-02-03 Matti Nykänen, Finnish ski jumper (4 Olympic gold 1984, 88), dies of diabetes complications at 55