George Eastman - Infirmity and Suicide

Infirmity and Suicide

In his final two years, Eastman was in intense pain, caused by a disorder affecting his spine. He had trouble standing and his walking became a slow shuffle. Today it might be diagnosed as some kind of degenerative disease such as disc herniations from trauma or age causing either painful disc herniation compressions; or perhaps a type of lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by calcification in the vertebrae. Since his mother sufferered the final 2 years of her life in a wheelchair, she also may have had a spine condition but that is unknown - only her uterine cancer and successful surgery is documented in her health history. If she did have a muscularskeletal disorder, perhaps George Eastman's spine condition may have been due to a congenital disease, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, degenerative disc disease, or a variant of Ehlers Danlos collagen disorder - conditions known to be inheritable but usually presenting earlier in age. Regardless, Eastman grew increasingly depressed due to his own pain, reduced ability to function, and also since he witnessed his mother's suffering from pain. On March 14, 1932, Eastman died by suicide with a single gunshot to the heart, leaving a note which read, "To my friends: my work is done. Why wait?"

His funeral was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rochester; he was buried on the grounds of the company he founded at Kodak Park in Rochester, New York.

Read more about this topic:  George Eastman

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