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John Candy’s Health Issues Were Way Worse Than We Thought

At the age of 43, actor and comedian John Candy died of a heart attack in his sleep on March 4, 1994. While his death was considered shocking at the time, looking back on his unhealthy lifestyle, family history of heart disease, and numerous bad habits, it’s not surprising that he passed away as young as he did.

Now, we’re not trying to shame anyone for anything, nor do we want to be insensitive when discussing someone’s death. After all, John Candy had numerous colleagues, friends, and family members who still deeply miss him. At his funeral, numerous stars came out to pay their condolences and celebrate his life. A few of these included Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Eugene Levy, Bill Murray, Meg Ryan, Dan Aykroyd, and Steve Martin – just to name a few.

The world of comedy lost one of it’s biggest and most beloved figures the day that John died. It makes you wonder what he would have gone on to accomplish if he were to have lived a fuller life.

Candy rose to fame in the 70s as a member of the Toronto branch of the improvisational comedy troupe Second City, and it’s critically acclaimed SCTV series. He went on to experience a meteoric rise in Hollywood, appearing in films such as Stripes, Uncle Buck, Cool Runnings, The Blues Brothers, Home Alone, and National Lampoon’s Vacation.

While he was primarily known for being a comic, Candy showed off his versatility as an actor by occasionally taking on dramatic roles as well. This can be seen in films such as Only the Lonely and JFK – both of which hit theaters in 1991.

For his work on SCTV, John won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. But beyond those accolades, which he undoubtedly deserved, Candy was known for being one of the most gifted funnymen in the entertainment industry.

Most people are aware that John Candy had a few health problems. When he passed away, it was shocking, but not necessarily something that nobody saw coming. It was only after seeing his autopsy report and hearing first-hand from those that knew him personally, however, that the full scope of just how bad off he really was came to light. In this facts-packed video, we’ll be discussing how John Candy’s Health Issues Were Way Worse Than We Thought.

His Cause Of Death Has Been Called Into Question

When John Candy passed away in March of 1994, he was on the set of the film Wagons East in Durango, Mexico. John intended for the movie to be the last one that he appeared in, but one would suspect that he didn’t realize that it would in fact be the final project that he would ever be involved in. We say ‘one would suspect’ for a reason, but we’ll get to that later.

43 is such a young age for anyone to die. No doubt, Candy hoped to live for another 25 or 30 years, but unfortunately, fate had something else in mind.

While his official cause of death was listed as a massive heart attack, Dr. Michael Hunter, a world-renowned forensic pathologist, firmly believes that there were other key factors at play that contributed to his untimely passing.

Dr. Hunter outlined his theories and suspicions in a 2019 docuseries that first aired on the REELZ cable network. The series, which is entitled Autopsy: John Candy, highlights Dr. Hunter’s studies of the late Holywood star’s autopsy report while revealing his startling findings.

Dr. Hunter is quick to point out that obesity played a significant role in John Candy’s early death. Throughout his life, John Candy struggled with his weight. Looking into his life, Hunter discovered that John was prone to bouts of binge eating that specifically seemed to coincide with career setbacks.

Hunter further asserts that Candy’s relationship with food was always particularly unhealthy and even potentially life-threatening at every chapter of his life.

In the docuseries, one of Candy’s longtime friends is quoted as saying that when he first met the actor at around 15 or 16, he was already smoking cigarettes. By the time Candy was 17, he was already smoking at least a pack a day. Up until the day he died, John was never able to give up the habit.

Obviously, with everything that we know about the disastrous effects that tobacco has on the body, this kind of habit coupled with his morbid obesity proved to be a very dangerous combination.

Basically, it was one-two punch that ultimately claimed his life, but even beyond these two things, there were still more alarming factors that contributed to Candy’s death. In retrospect, they seem like the kind of red flags that friends and family members should have taken note of and tried to address with some kind of intervention, but hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.

Not to get too far off-topic, but if you’ve been enjoying this video, take a second to show us a little support by giving it a like and subscribing to the Facts Verse channel. Keep watching to learn more about John Candy’s tragic struggles with his weight, substance abuse, and heart disease.

Another Drug Wreaked Havoc On John Candy’s Heart

Smoking and overeating alone might have eventually killed John Candy, but it was his deep-seated love for another substance that likely caused significant damage to his cardiovascular system. According to Dr. Hunter, Candy had a long history of drug use – cocaine specifically – that was beyond problematic.

Candy once admitted that his drug habit began when he first moved to Chicago to perform with the Illinois branch of Second City. There, he was accompanied by the likes of Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and John Belushi – all of whom were notorious heavy drug users at the time.

At first, his substance abuse was limited to alcohol, but that soon progressed to the entire gambit of other drugs, including cocaine.

“I learned how to drink, stay up real late and spell D R U G S” Candy once admitted in a remarkably candid interview.

After John Belushi’s fatal drug overdose, Candy managed to put down drugs for a while, but he continued to smoke heavily and use food to cope with his anxiety. When that no longer seemed to work, and stress and panic began to set in, a deep sense of inner turmoil followed the comic right up to the set of that final film in Durango. No doubt, his inner demons hastened his demise.

He “Grew Up” With Heart Disease

John Candy was born on October 31 – Halloween – 1950, in Ontario, Canada. He came from a family of working-class parents. His father suddenly died of a heart attack when he was only 5 years old. This traumatic childhood event would prove to be quite foreshadowing as his dad not only had a heart condition, but he too was obese.

Throughout his school years, Candy was quite the formidable player out on the football field. He had early hopes of playing the game in college, but unfortunately, a knee injury put an abrupt end to that dream.

So instead of pursuing sports, Candy transitioned into comedy before enrolling at Centennial College, where he studied journalism.

Eventually, he landed his big break when he was inducted into the improv comedy troupe Second City in 1972. Right from the get-go, however, behind his funny man persona, Candy was a deeply troubled man who didn’t know how to deal with his troubles in anything remotely resembling a healthy way.

It’s a bit cliché at this point, but there’s truth in that stereotype that comedians are often the most troubled kinds of people. Behind the laughs and self-deprecating jabs, Candy was someone who was deeply satisfied with life, and he was horrified by what he saw as the inevitably of his demise.

According Carl Reiner, the director who worked with John in the 1985 comedy Summer Rental, Candy was preoccupied with a sense of fatalism. He felt as if he had inherited his father’s genes and heart condition as some kind of ‘Democlean sword’. So, in his eyes, it didn’t matter what he did because at any point, his number would be up, and the grim reaper would come knocking at his door.

John’s son, Chris, once said of his dad that he ‘grew up with heart disease’. He added that John’s father had a heart attack and so did his brother. In that way, it was somewhat a family curse. His trainers would do their best to point him in the right direction, and he would take a stab at whatever new diet was trending. It’s not that he lived with reckless abandon. In fact, Chris believes wholeheartedly that his father did his best, but even so, there was always this morbid feeling that seemed to follow him wherever he went.

It was something that remained constantly in the back of his mind. Those that knew and loved him also couldn’t help but think about it. John’s brother-in-law, Frank Hober, said that it was something that ‘no one ever talked about’, but deep down inside, they all knew what was coming.

His Legacy Speaks For Itself

John Candy’s funeral was held at the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in LA. He was interred in the mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery located in Culver City. In the crypt where he was laid to rest, he is accompanied by fellow actor Fred McMurray.

At his memorial service, which was held on March 18, 1991, dozens of celebrities came out to pay their respects. The service was in fact produced by his former Second City improv troupe and was broadcast all throughout his home country, Canada.

In 1998, Candy was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame. In 2006, he became the first of four entertainment icons that were honored with postage stamps put out by the Canadian Postal service. More recently, on what would have been his 70th birthday, October 31, 2020, the mayor of Toronto, John Tory, declared it to be John Candy Day.

John Candy will continue to be deeply missed by all his fans, friends, and family members. It’s heartbreaking to learn that he spent so much of his life living in fear and misery. We tend to forget that comics are human beings just like us. They suffer from the same kind of turmoil that all of us are subject to. Sure, they know how to make us laugh, but let us not forget that many of them are hurting inside. It’s through comedy that they have learned how to cope with the tragic reality of life.

Did you know that John Candy smoked a pack of cigarettes a day since he was 17 and that he battled with binge-eating and substance abuse for the majority of his adult life? Let us know in the comments.

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