Can’t Blame Babe Ruth’s Death On Cigars & Booze

Everyone knows what killed Babe Ruth in 1948 at the age of 53 - throat cancer, the by-product of years of smoking too many fat cigars and pounding way too much booze. It was a neat, cautionary tale about how even the greatest athletes can be brought down by their own avarice and over-indulgence.

Babe Ruth, 1945

Well, it turns out that the whole story was a lie. The WESTCHESTER (NY) JOURNAL NEWS reports that Dr. William Maloney spent a year researching Ruth’s case, and while it turns out that he did die of cancer, it wasn’t throat cancer at all, but an extremely rare form of cancer called nasopharyngeal carcinoma. His death wasn’t caused by his love of smokes and booze at all, but just being on the wrong end of unlikely odds.

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