R.I.P. Robin Gibb

What is your favorite Bee Gees song?

You may be hearing it a lot in the next few days, in tribute to Robin Gibb, who died today at the age of 62.

The family released a statement on his website, RobinGibb.com:

Sunday 20 May, 2012 at 10:46: The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.

Robin, who co-founded The Bee Gees with his twin brother Maurice and elder brother Barry, has been in poor health for the last year.

In 2010, the singer was hospitalized with severe abdominal pain. Gibb underwent surgery on his bowel and a tumor was discovered and was diagnosed as cancer of the colon.

In November 2011, Gibb appeared very gaunt, and there were reports that the cancer had spread to his liver. At the time, he and his wife, Dwina Murphy-Gibb, an ordained druid priestess,  reportedly looked into alternative treatments, including a possible trip to visit a Native American healer.

Gibb appeared to rally, however since March he suffered several setbacks, including pneumonia and on April 14, he lapsed into a coma.  His physician, Dr. Andrew Thillainayagam, of Imperial College Healthcare, explained:

Despite having advanced colorectal cancer, Robin responded extremely well to Dr. Harper’s [Gibb’s oncologist]  aggressive chemotherapy treatment, but went on to need two emergency operations in the space of two months. In the aftermath, Robin developed the feared complication of pneumonia when he was very weak and fighting to recover from lifesaving surgery for peritonitis.

The prognosis was very grave, given that Robin had brain swelling from liver failure, a severe pneumonia and a weakened immune system from malnutrition. I have managed Robin’s series of acute medical problems very aggressively according to his explicit wishes.

Amazingly, after 12 days, Robin awoke from his coma.

Dr. Thilainayagam praised Robin Gibb’s “extraordinary courage, iron will and deep reserves of physical strength” which allowed him to “overcome quite incredible odds to get where he is now.”

But the odds finally caught up with him, and Gibb passed away, no doubt surrounded by his family, just as they have been throughout his battle.

For more information about colon cancer, check out some of our other stories:

Soul Singer Teddy Pendergast Dies of Colon Cancer – Basics of the disease

Placido Domingo Treated for Colon Cancer – Risk factors

John Forsythe, “Dynastic” Actor, Dies – Colonoscopy

Dr.Oz and the Polyp: Physician Screen Thyself – Adenomatous Polyps


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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