Tuesday, September 04, 2007

For Rock Stars, Good Looking Corpses

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but a new study confirms “rock stars… are more likely than other people to die before reaching old age,” reports Reuters. If you’re a superstar rock musician, your chances of dying a premature death are two to three times that of the general population.

The study, by researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, looked at more than a thousand musicians between 1956 and 2005. About 100 died early. A quarter of those were due to drug and alcohol abuse. The study didn’t describe the proportion of deaths attributed to other causes, like suicide.

The most dangerous time for musicians is within 5 years of “achieving fame.” That’s when their death rate skyrockets to three-times the norm. The good news for British rockers, if you survive the first 25 years after hitting it big, your life expectancy returns to normal. But if you’re an American rock dude, you carry a doubled risk of premature death well into your golden years (what most of us call middle-age).

Two possible culprits, according to the study authors: reunion tours and a lack of health insurance. American musicians seem to do more reunion tours, which can prolong exposure to the unhealthy rock lifestyle. “Impoverished American ex-pop stars” also skip on health care, and that’s not a good thing.


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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.