[Dixielandjazz] Bix's Death

Stan Brager sbrager at socal.rr.com
Wed Mar 5 18:04:35 PST 2003

Rae Ann;

Phil Evans' book "The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story" reports that the cause of
Bix's death was lobar pneumonia. Shortly before he died he was
hallucinating. His screams were heard by a neighbor who sought to calm Bix
and he died shortly thereafter. The book also relates that Bix had an
infection of some kind for several days prior to his death. He was trying
albeit unsuccessfully to kick his booze habit. Red Nichols reports that when
he saw Bix 2 days before Bix's death, he was depressed but lucid.

It's my guess from the information presented that the combination of
alcohol, depression, and pneumonia caused the hallucinations which were
reported in Evans' book.

There is little evidence that Bix had the fortitude to try "white-knuckling"
at this time. Furthermore, I don't have enough medical knowledge to say that
Bix's hallucinations were the DT's.

Sudhalter's book used Phil Evans original research to develop "Bix: Man &
Legend". Phil complained that Sudhalter altered the facts to present a more
colorful story and added conversations which could not be documented. I
prefer the Evans book because he doesn't tell the story - he let's the
evidence, the documents, and the extensive interviews tell the story.

Stan Brager
----- Original Message -----
From: <RAHBerry at aol.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 12:59 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Bix's Death

> Dr.Fred and listmates:
> Does anyone have any details about Bix's death?  I've read that he died of
pneumonia, but Richard Sudhalter reported that he died while having DT's,
after "white-knuckling" getting off alcohol.
> Please advise.
> Rae Ann

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