Update: ME Says No Head Trauma in Billy Mays Death, Heart Attack Likely

Update: A Florida Medical Examiner says it doesn’t look like the bumpy landing caused Billy Mays’ death, after all, but rather that he “likely died of a heart attack, but further tests are needed.”  What a strange coincidence, though.

In a week that saw the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson (as well as the non-death of Jeff Goldblum), today brings a particularly cruel, seemingly random celebrity death.  Affable infomercial pitchman Billy Mays was found dead this morning, and his wife thinks it may have been because of an injury sustained during a rough landing yesterday:

Mays reportedly was hit on the head Saturday while aboard a US Airways flight that made a rough landing, and Mays’ wife told investigators the TV personality didn’t feel well before he went to bed Saturday night.

Amazingly, Mays was interviewed by a local Fox TV affiliate after the landing, and seemed to be OK.

Fresh from filming an Oxyclean commercial in Philadelphia, ‘Pitch Man’ Billy Mays was also thankful to be on the ground and back home in the Bay Area.

“All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping. It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head,” said Mays.

Although the cause of death has still not been determined, this underscores, as one Tweep noted, that “we should NEVER underestimate the danger of closed head injuries (Natasha Richardson).”I am unironically saddened by Mays’ death.  The first time I ever saw him, on a Home Shopping Network-style show about collectible knives, I think, I thought he was doing a bit.  He sounded just like that Chris Farley “van down by the river” character.  If it was a put-on, it was an example of Andy Kaufman-esque commitment to the gag.

While his persona was jarring at first, Mays became the go-to pitchman for “as-seen-on-TV” products like Oxi-Clean, eventually embedding himself in the public consciousness as a likable, funny pop cultural figure.  HuffPo has a video roundup of funny Mays moments.

I hope there is a heaven, and I hope Billy Mays is there right now saying, “Yaweh, are you tired of sacrificing your only son to wash away all those stubborn sins?”

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1 Comment

  1. The last line deserves an award.


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