Good Night JR

Larry Hagman, the actor who became synonymous with his onscreen character J.R. Ewing on the primetime soap opera Dallas has died. The 81-year old died on Friday in Dallas from complication of throat cancer. A statement from a family spokesman made to the Dallas News said:

Larry was back in his beloved Dallas re-enacting the iconic role he loved most. Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.

As well as his family, Hagman’s Dallas costars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were also by his side at Medical City Dallas Hospital when he died.

Hagman was diagnosed with Stage 2 throat cancer in 2011. He had just signed on for the reboot of the Dallas franchise, but still wanted it known that he had the disease:

As J.R. I could get away with anything – bribery, blackmail and adultery. But I got caught by cancer… I do want everyone to know that it is a very common and treatable form of cancer.

Hagman received treatment while working on the new series.

This was not Hagman’s first brush with a serious health condition. In 1992, he was diagnosed with  cirrhosis of the liver. Hagman readily admits he was a heavy drinker, but he claims that he had “never been ill, never got sick, never blacked out or suffered the DTs, never really got drunk or anything.”

In 1995, he was diagnosed with liver cancer and was treated with a liver transplant. A perfect match was found for him after being on the transplant list for only 33 days.

 What you should know about throat cancer…

Throat cancer is a cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the tube inside the neck that starting behind the nose and ending at the top of the windpipe and esophagus).

Throat cancer includes cancer of the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose), the oropharynx (the middle part of the pharynx), and the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the pharynx). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of throat cancer.

Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States. These cancers are more common in men and in people over age 50.

People who smoke or otherwise use tobacco are at risk of developing throat cancer. Excessive alcohol use also increases risk. Smoking and drinking alcohol combined lead to an increased risk for throat cancers.

The Stages of Throat Cancer

For more information, National Cancer Institute.

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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