Laughter brings health benefits and death | Sunday Observer

Laughter brings health benefits and death

20 August, 2023

Laughter brings many health benefits. It is considered a medicine that makes people healthy. In addition to improving physical health, many believe that laughter also relieves conditions such as stress and depression. Despite the common belief, there are historical and recent reports of people dying from illnesses caused by laughter. This is about some such people who died of serious medical conditions such as heart attacks and respiratory problems caused by excessive laughing.

Mangesh Bhogal is the most recent person who died of laughter. He was watching the movie “Grand Masti” with his girlfriend in Mumbai in November 2013. He had laughed excessively at a comic scene in the film under the ‘Adults Only’ category. At the same time, he had a heart attack. On the notification of Mangesh’s girlfriend, the people in the theatre rushed him to the hospital, but he died on the way. His autopsy report states that it was an accidental death.

San-Um, who lived in Bangkok, Thailand and was an ice cream vendor by profession, died on August 22, 2003 of laughing too much in his sleep. At that time, he was 52 years old. His wife told the inquest that he had been laughing in his sleep that morning. She had tried hard to wake up San-um, but he had not responded. She mentioned that after about two minutes, he became silent.


The autopsy report stated that he died of a heart attack. The doctors who performed the test had never heard of such an incident. However, doctors were of the opinion that there is a risk of heart attack due to excessive laughing or crying.

Ole Bentsen, who lived in Denmark, died in 1989 of an abnormally fast heart rate caused by laughing too much. Relatives of his family said that he was watching the movie “A fish called Wanda” and laughed out loud after seeing a funny scene (a man shoving some chips up his nose). The reason he found the scene so funny was that he and family members once held a cauliflower up to their noses to see who could eat a carrot without letting the cauliflower fall to the ground. It is reported that at the time of his death, his heart rate was between 250-500 per minute.

On March 24, 1975, Alex Mitchell, a British national, died due to laughing too much while watching a popular TV show called “Kung Fu Kappers”. He was very fond of the TV show. The episode he watched on the day of his death showed one person hitting another person with a bowl of some kind of dessert and the person being attacked trying to avoid it with a bagpipe. He was 50 years old when he died. His wife, Nessie, told the media that after watching the show, he started laughing profusely and laughed for nearly 25 minutes. His death became known around the world, and his wife wrote a letter to the producer of the TV show, thanking him for making Mitchell’s last moments entertaining. When one of his granddaughters was hospitalised due to a heart condition, doctors said that Mitchell might have been suffering from the same condition.


Wesley Parsons, a farmer who lived in the State of Indiana in the United States, died in 1893 as he was laughing too much at a joke. One day, he met a group of friends and was chatting with them. During the conversation, he was laughing for more than an hour at a joke made by a friend. Along with laughing, he also had hiccups. Due to the lack of facilities available at the time, the doctors could not find out a clear cause of his death. It has recently been revealed that he may have died due to internal exhaustion from laughing and hiccups.

It is hard to even think that laughing for two days is something that could happen, but the sudden death of a woman named Fitzherbert, who lived in the city of London, was caused by laughing continuously for two days. Being a widow at that time, one day in 1782, she went with some friends to see the opera called “The Beggar’s Opera”. There, a man named Charles Bannister, dressed in women’s clothes, came on stage and everyone started laughing. Unable to control her laughter, Fitzherbert left the theatre before the second part of the opera began. She returned home and died of laughter for two days continuously. A newspaper obituary after her death stated that she died because she could not get Bannister out of her mind.

In 1660, a person named Thomas Urquhart died of laughter after hearing the news of Charles II’s accession to the throne. A Scottish writer and translator, he was trusted by King Charles II and members of the royal family. With the loss of the throne to King Charles II, the ruler at the time ordered the exile of Thomas, who was later imprisoned. A few years after this exile, King Charles II was restored to the throne. Thomas was overjoyed to hear the news and died of excessive laughter.