Tag Archives: deaths

Mystery Surrounds Death of Pro Golfer Erica Blasberg in Las Vegas Suburb

Pro golfer Erica Blasberg, according to most accounts, had much going for her in life and was well liked by her golfing peers, friends and family. 

Blasberg played her only L.P.G.A. Tour event this year just two weeks ago in Mexico and tied for 44th place. 

Blasberg found great golfing success in college, winning six times in two years at the University of Arizona and then turned pro and played on the Curtis Cup team in 2004. 

One of the most photogenic women’s golfers in the country, she also inked an endorsement deal with Puma. In addition, Erica competed favorably in the L.P.G.A. Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, Women’s British Open, and Kraft Nabisco Championship. 

But last Sunday something turned horribly – and deathly -wrong.  

Henderson, Nevada police spokesman Keith Paul would only say they are continuing to investigating the 25-year-old American’s sudden and untimely death on Sunday, adding it was not immediately clear whether foul play was involved.  

The virtual freeze of information from the Henderson Police Department about her death has fueled rampant speculation.  They only say that it was not a suicide. 

TMZ, citing Erica’s father, also proclaimed that it was not a suicide. 

HLN host Nancy Grace took it a step further: “Found dead, possibly smothered to death in the bedroom of her desert home,” Grace said on her recent show. 

Erica had withdrawn in recent months, not updating her website, Facebook or Twitter accounts. 

Paul said police responded to a 911 call and were dispatched to Blasberg’s suburban three-bedroom house in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas, around 3 p.m. last Sunday. Paul declined to say who made the call, saying it was part of the investigation.  

But, since then, knowledgeable sources have came forward saying the call was made by a male golfer, yet unnamed, who was inside her home at the time. 

Blasberg, whose bags were packed and waiting to go on her next L.P.G.A. tournament in Alabama this week, according to her agent, Chase Callahan, also reportedly text messaged her caddie hours before her death, saying she would not be at the tournament.  

The caddie, Missy Pederson, recently told the New York Times that Blasberg said she wasn’t going to play at this week’s Bell Micro L.P.G.A. Classic in Mobile, Alabama. 

Because the message was sent in the middle of the night, Pederson said she was worried and texted back a question about whether Blasberg was all right–  and the 25-year-old golfer never replied. 

Pederson normally caddies for Irene Cho. Cho told the Times she and Blasberg had made plans to have dinner Sunday night in Mobile, the night before Blasberg faced a qualifying round. 

Cho said Blasberg was unhappy with her golf game lately. 

“She was kind of down on herself,” Cho said. “She was upset how she played last year. I told her she has so much talent and so much beauty and so many people who love her. I didn’t want her to lose sight of all that.” 

Her dad, Mel Blasberg, says Las Vegas had become a “bad influence” and a “distraction,” and she was considering moving back home to California.  Despite this, he seems to believe it wasn’t suicide saying Erica was upbeat during practice at Southern Highlands Country Club in Henderson just days before she was found dead. 

“I never saw her more positive,” says Blasberg.  “This was a very motivated person to get to Alabama this week.” 

Police will not say how Blasberg died and the Clark County coroner only said the autopsy results were inconclusive and that determining the cause of death through blood and tissue tests could take 4-6 weeks. 

L.P.G.A. spokesman David Higdon called Blasberg’s death a “tough hit” for women’s golf. “She was a very popular player and well-liked and we’re going to miss her,” Higdon said, adding, “This is a very close-knit group of players and tour and we’re saddened by what happened.”

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Death of Marie Osmond’s Son Ruled a Suicide

Coroner’s officials say the death of Marie Osmond’s son, 18-year-old Michael Bryan, has been ruled a suicide and that drugs or alcohol didn’t play a role in the teen’s leap from an eight-story balcony in Los Angeles in February. 

Bryan left behind a suicide note, but the coroner’s office wanted toxicology results before ruling on his cause of death.  The findings were released on April 21. 

Bryan was one of five children that Osmond and her ex-husband adopted.  

Osmond and her brother, Donny, took a brief break from their Las Vegas show before returning with a tribute to Bryan in March.

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Las Vegas Coroner’s Office Profits by Selling Morbid Gifts

When not performing about 1,500 autopsies a year, the staff at the Clark County Coroner’s Office in Las Vegas is apparently taking a recreational break by doing it all it can to squeeze the last amount of cash from people- alive if not dead. 

Tucked aways from the casual visitor and not on any Web site, is their unique “gift shop-“ a small section of a glass trophy case, about four by six feet, containing an odd, disturbing array of things for sale including shirts, pants, paperweights, jacket patches and hoodies, all with the “Clark County Coroner’s Office” logo; T-shirts with a tag “Cashed out in Las Vegas,”; souvenir license plates, “Stolen from Clark County Coroner” pens; and even cuff bracelets with inspirational sayings such as “Embrace life one day at a time” or “Believe in yourself.”   There is even coffee mugs with the saying, “Here’s where you’re at when the line goes flat” and a business card holder where the bottom half is a jawbone. 

Clearly, they have a sense of humor, though many would say it’s morbid and twisted. 

They say they stole the idea from the larger and equally morbid Los Angeles Coroner’s gift shop. 

They also say that all revenue goes towards offsetting the costs of the Coroner’s Visitation Program, a court-order class for at-risk youth.  Mmmmm. 

Even their staff proudly wears the gear including their boss, Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy, who bought a coroner’s badge lapel pin, not just because he wanted to help out, mind you, but really because he said he likes shiny things that look official.

Best hurry on down there and get a present or two for your loved ones for the holidays.

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Las Vegas’ Colorful Legend Bob Stupak Dies

The brash, enterprising Las Vegas legend and casino mogul who brought the Stratosphere to the Strip has sadly died.  Bob Stupak, 67, died Friday afternoon from leukemia at Desert Springs Hospital, with his family by his side. 

Stupak accomplished a lot of things in life and met a lot of people over the years since coming to Vegas in 1971, and on Friday night, friends remembered a man they called a legend. 

“I was surprised and stunned,” said Dr. Lonnie Hammargren. 

As word spread of Stupak’s death, the memories of the casino mogul were still very much alive. 

“Bob had ideas and did things that people wouldn’t do,” Hammargren said. 

Perhaps no one has more memorabilia in one place than former Lt. Gov. Hammargren. His backyard is a lasting legacy to Stupak’s creations, including a model space ship that graced the top of Stupak’s Vegas World in the late ‘70s. 

 “He loved to rock the boat,” said Howard Schwartz. Schwartz met Stupak in the early ‘80s while working at the Gambler’s Book Shop. “He came into the store, and he always had questions about new games or something innovative he wanted to try,” Schwartz said. 

That innovative spirit led Stupak to build what still is the tallest structure in Las Vegas — the 1,149-foot-tall Stratosphere — in 1996. 

The Stratosphere seemed a metaphor for all of Stupak’s life struggles: Its construction was stalled by a dramatic fire high in its pedestal that rained embers onto the street, and three months after its 1996 opening — and a year after he nearly died in a motorcycle crash — he resigned as chairman as the property was falling into bankruptcy. 

It was after that when he pitched his Titanic casino, which Las Vegas city officials promptly rejected. 

Stupak’s bickering with city and county politicians, and his contention that he could do a better job, led to several blustery runs for public office and a stint at publishing his own maverick weekly newspaper, the now defunct Las Vegas Bullet.

In his inaugural run for mayor in 1987, he sent gift fruit baskets to potential voters. Stupak also financed the unsuccessful Las Vegas City Council campaigns of his daughter Nicole in 1991 and his son, Nevada, in 1999. 

Stupak also was credited with helping to get his then nurse-turned-girlfriend, Janet Moncrief, elected to Las Vegas City Council in 2003. She wound up being the only council member ever to be recalled from office. Stupak tossed his hat into the political arena for the last time in 2006, making a run for lieutenant governor of Nevada. He finished third, garnering 17 percent of the statewide vote. 

In the late 1990s Stupak began helping charitable causes through his foundation, including opening a community center in one of the poorest areas of town. 

For his philanthropic efforts, the Las Vegas City Council on Feb. 23, 1996, issued a proclamation citing Stupak for his “valuable pioneering efforts” and “his outstanding generosity … in answering the call of children, the homeless and the underprivileged.” 

In more recent years, a seemingly mellower Stupak kept a much lower profile, content to play in high stakes poker games at the Bellagio and other major Strip resort card rooms and shirking the limelight he once sought with much fervor. He also was seen occasionally on televised poker events, including a final table during the first season of the World Poker Tour. 

Streetwise and poker-savvy, abrasive and ambitious, Bob Stupak was always the ultimate Las Vegas gambler and huckster, always pushing the envelope if it would bring him publicity. 

Always the independent (his nickname was “the Polish Maverick”), he was more aggravating than charming, but always a topic of conversation, which pleased him. 

“He thought of himself as larger than he was and could often come off as gruff and angry, especially if you disagreed with him,” said Howard Schwartz, operator of the Gamblers Book Shop. “Bob Stupak liked being controversial — he swam upstream. It was almost overkill how he tried to earn people’s respect, which he never truly got. People would smile and shake his hand then talk about him behind his back.” 

Stupak was sometimes the survivor — like after a horrific motorcycle crash that crushed every bone in his face and left him in a coma 14 years ago — and sometimes the loser, running unsuccessfully to be the Las Vegas mayor, a Clark County commissioner and the Nevada lieutenant governor. 

What he did win at was poker. A fixture at the old World Series of Poker at what is now Binion’s, in 1989 he won a $139,500 purse in the $5,000 buy-in no-limit deuce-to-7 world championship. He made the final table of that event three more times during his career. 

“Bob was a decathlon gambler — sports bets, propositions, poker — everything at once,” said Las Vegas oddsmaker and gambler Lem Banker, who gave Stupak the advice to take Cincinnati plus 6 1/2 points in the 1989 Super Bowl against San Francisco for Stupak’s legendary $1 million winning bet. “He had a lot of heart and a lot of brains.” 

Besides children Nevada and Nicole, Stupak is survived by another daughter, Summer; two sisters, Linda Phillips and Nancy O’Conner, and two former wives, Sandra Blumen and Annette Hatton. 

Stupak requested that there not be a funeral service.

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R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

PatrickSwayzeAfter a two year valiant, largely private battle with type four pancreatic cancer, the Dirty Dancing and Ghost iconic movie star Patrick Swayze yesterday lost his battle of life.  He was 57 years old.

The raw masculine, charming and graceful man who was dubbed by People magazine as the “Sexiest Man Alive,” was also a licensed pilot.  In 2000 he was forced to make an emergecny landing while flying solo in his twin-engine Cessna from California to Las Vegas after experiencing mechanical problems. 

Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi also appeared on the red carpet during the second day of the celebration for the grand opening of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on April 17, 2007.

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Entertainer Danny Gans’ Death Linked to “Drug Store Heroin”

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy ruled yesterday that Danny Gans’ sudden death on May 1 in his Henderson, Nevada home at the age of 52 was accidental caused by acute toxic levels of the prescription painkiller clinically known as hydromorphone.    The drug – used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain – interacted with his other heart and blood disease drugs. 

“Mr. Gans’ health conditions placed him at greater risk for heart irregularities, and the hydromorphone was a factor that exacerbated those risks,” said Murphy. 

The drug otherwise known as Dilaudid, is a highly addictive opiate nicknamed “drug store heroin” that is two to eight times more potent than morphine and  a drug not meant for long-term usage.  Drug side effects include high dose tolerance leading to dependence, troubled and slowed breathing, and impairment of mental and physical performance.  It is such a potent and powerful central-acting prescription drug that it can’t be called in to the pharmacy like most other drugs, but rather the prescription has to be handwritten and personally delivered. 

Some contend that the prescription was not a recent one, rather just an old prescription that Gans kept in his medicine cabinet.

This is also the same drug that was a top favorite of iconic entertainer Elvis Presley, who also died young at 42.  Although Dilaudid was not found in the many drugs discovered in Elvis’ system when he died, he was quoted in the book “Elvis: The Final Years,” as telling the wife of Red West, a member of Elvis’ inner circle, “I’ve tried them all, honey, and believe me, Dilaudid is the best.”

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Boxing Champ Mike Tyson’s Daughter Dies

The four-year-old daughter of heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson died Tuesday after an accident at home in Phoenix.  Tyson was in Las Vegas at the time and immediately flew back to Arizona. Mike Tyson

Exodus Tyson was playing near a workout treadmill on Monday when she somehow became entangled with a cord hanging from the machine.  Her seven-year-old brother reportedly found Exodus and told his mother who then called 911 and began administering first aid. 

Firefighters performed CPR and Exodus was taken to St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Centre where she was listed in critical condition.  Tuesday morning Exodus was removed from life support and subsequently died. 

In a statement released Tuesday, the Tyson family said: “There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Exodus. We ask you now to please respect our need at this very difficult time for privacy to grieve and try to help each other heal.” 

Condolences from Las Vegas Backstage Access to the Tyson family on the loss of Exodus Tyson.

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