Famous People's Cause of Death James Joyce

About the famous Irish writer James Joyce, biography, history and cause of death.



Born: Feb. 2, 1882

Died: Jan. 13, 1941

Cause of Death: Peritonitis and perforated duodenal ulcer

Physician's Notes: Nearly blind for the last third of his life, the Irish author of Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake was wearing thick glasses at age six. As a young, unpublished writer, he was destitute, surviving on cocoa, which resulted in illness and severe toothaches. He couldn't afford a dentist, and his tooth condition worsened, eventually causing iritis of both eyes. In 1907 he suffered an attack of rheumatic fever. Ten years later the attacks of iritis were so acute that he once spent five weeks recovering from one. Then he developed glaucoma. In 1923 he was advised to have all of his abscessed teeth extracted. This brought some relief from the iritis attacks, but between 1923 and 1926 he underwent seven eye operations, including one to remove the lens in his left eye. His eyes grew steadily worse. After his 10th eye operation (he was to have one more), he was able to see just enough to read newspaper headlines. (Writing in semidarkness, it took him 17 years to complete Finnegans Wake.) On Jan. 10, 1941, suffering from severe stomach pains, he was rushed to the hospital "writhing like a fish." X rays revealed a perforated duodenal ulcer. An operation was initially successful, but Joyce weakened and finally fell into a coma, awakening only once before he died. His last words were "Does nobody understand?"

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