July 20, 2024

Pretty Woman singer Roy Orbison wasn’t one for drugs or alcohol during his 30-year-career.

Yet a TV documentary is claiming the 1960s star, famed for such hits as Only The Lonely and Crying, had a different kind of dangerous addiction – yo-yo dieting.

The singer and songwriter died at the age of 52 following a heart attack while visiting his mother in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

American pathologist Dr Michael Hunter claims the reason behind the rock and roll icon’s death was due to an unhealthy obsession with his diet.

The singer’s life was rocked with family tragedy with his wife Claudette dying in a 1966 motorcycle accident; in 1968, a fire at his Nashville home killed two of the couple’s three children while he was away on tour.

Remarrying in 1969, Orbison threw himself into his work but off stage he would indulge in binge-eating diet sessions – eating large amounts of junk food followed with periods of near-starvation to lose weight ready for the next concert.

‘This cycle of substantial weight gain followed by drastic weight loss would have undoubtedly placed tremendous strain on his heart’ Dr Hunter reveals in a new episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours of… which is due to be aired in Britain later this year, the Sunday Express reported.

Through looking at the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame star’s medical records and conducting interviews with friends and colleagues, Dr Hunter suggests Orbison ignored the warning signs and failed to change his unhealthy lifestyle.

Even when the singer underwent triple heart bypass surgery ten years before his death in December 1988, he soon went back to his overindulging then fasting schedule.

But this was the star’s life after he witnessed his beloved wife, who was his childhood sweetheart, get thrown from her motorcycle and had to suffer through his two eldest children’s deaths, Dr Hunter claims.

‘He never really recovered from those tragedies,’ his former tour manager Terry Wildlake said.

Three months before his death Orbison divulged to close friend and fellow singer Johnny Cash that he was experiencing severe chest pains.

Cash pleaded with him to seek medical attention but Orbison allegedly said he would ‘work through’ the pain.

He hired a fitness trainer for the first time however Dr Hunter said this could have also contributed to the singer’s death.

Dr Hunter said: ‘This form of dieting, on top of a sudden exercise programme at the age of 52, could have been a step too far.’

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