[Art Bell] died at his home in Nevada, just west of Las Vegas. He was only 72.
Based on a July 2016 posting to "his website", his bio at Wikipedia attributes his death to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD)[†]. Indeed, the episode of pneumonia
he revealed there is 1 of the severely increased life-threatening risks that accompanies COPD.
COPD should be no surprise at all, given that Bell seemed nearly always pictured with a cigarette in his mouth
. Thus his smoked-skin complexion [‡], promoted as "manly" by cigarette ads of the past.
So preliminary diagnoses of a common cold (rhinovirus
) as the cause of sudden sustained difficulty in breathing might've seemed to Bell as an excuse for a manly
exercise in "toughing it out
" till it, um, blows over. A big gamble
that it doesn't instead blow into pneumonia
. When in reality, it's entirely possible that in each episode, his life depends on a prompt trip to a hospital while breathing from a hose delivering 100% O2
. But what's the theme of modern Nevada, if not gambling?
In the context of his mostly undisclosed disputes with Premiere Radio, his material wealth
, as accumulated from his broadcasting success, might not be what outside onlookers might assume. So its possible that his health coverage
might not have been up to the challenge of repeated emergencies
traceable to COPD. Or require him to bypass the local Desert View Medical Center, in favor of having his emergency treated 60 miles away at some hospital in Las Vegas.
Note †: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Bell#Death
Note ‡: There's a reason that the outsides of smoked hams have the dried look that they do. And it ain't rocket-science. Why would anyone assume that it wouldn't have the same effect on human facial skin?