Singer of “feisty, boozy songs of old Ireland,” Liam Clancy, dies from pulmonary fibrosis

Praised by Bob Dylan as the best Irish balladeer ever, Liam Clancy died in the hospital at the age of 74 from a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis. According the the San Francisco Chronicle, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem performed at Carnegie Hall, toured Ireland, Britain, Australia and repeatedly throughout the United States, and recorded more than a dozen albums before breaking up amid arguments over bills, women and booze in 1974.

Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a disease where inflammation in the lungs causes thickening and scarring (fibrosis) of the delicate lung tissue. This lung tissue is no longer able to exchange oxygen. The primary symptoms are shortness of breath and dry, hacking cough, although with time, fatigue, weight loss, and rapid shallow breathing may appear. Although some causes of PF are known- environment exposure to silica and metal dusts, cigarette smoking, certain viral infections and chemotherapy drugs- most cases have no obvious cause and are called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). IPF is a progressive, irreversible disease, although there are some treatment modalities that can slow progression or improve symptoms. These include anti-inflammatory drugs such as Prednisone, oxygen therapy (periods of continuous oxygen use by nasal prongs or mask), pulmonary therapy (exercises to increase stamina) and in some cases, lung transplantation.

More information:

Pulmonary Fibrosis


Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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