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Doctors solve mystery of a man who 'died from laughter' while watching The Goodies after his granddaughter nearly dies from same rare heart condition
Mother-of-two diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome following cardiac arrestSyndrome is a genetic condition that causes an abnormal heart rhythm probably inherited from grandfather
00:41 GMT, 21 June 2012
He was the man who made headlines when he died from heart failure after laughing non-stop at The Goodies.
Alex Mitchell’s wife Nessie, who witnessed his death, even sent Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie a letter thanking them for making her husband’s final minutes so happy.
Now, 37 years on from the infamous ‘Ecky-Thump’ episode of the TV comedy, doctors think they know what caused the mysterious death.
Lisa Corke is recuperating (left) after she suffered a near fatal heart attack. Doctors believe it was caused by Long QT syndrome – a condition they believe killed her grandfather (right) in 1975
The clue came when Mr Mitchell’s
granddaughter Lisa Corke, 23, recently suffered a near-fatal cardiac
arrest while relaxing at her home.
Doctors subsequently diagnosed her
with Long QT syndrome, a rare form of heart disease which causes
Kung Fu Caper: During the episode Tim Brooke-Taylor uses a set of bagpipes to defend himself against Bill Oddie who is hurling black puddings
THE BATTLE OF ECKY THUMP
In this 1975 episode of The Goodies called Kung Fu Kapers, Bill Oddie demonstrates the made-up Scottish martial art of 'Hoots-Toot-Ochaye.'
This consisted of fights with various assailants played by the other two Goodies, including two boxers, a French stick fighter and an Australian with a boomerang.
He wins by cunningly hitting them over the head with a black pudding.
He meets his match when Tim Brooke-Taylor takes him on armed with the bagpipes.
However, Tim loses after he is hit over the head by the returning boomerang thrown earlier by the Australian.
Oddie celebrates his victory after it's announced by the umpire.
As the condition is hereditary, they believe
Scottish Mr Mitchell, a bricklayer who lived in Norfolk, must have also
suffered from it and triggered a collapse with his laughing fit.
Mrs Corke, from the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, said: ‘My granddad died from one of the most famous strange deaths.
‘I think at the time they probably
thought he suffered a heart attack caused by the laughter, but doctors
realised he died from cardiac arrest caused by Long QT syndrome after
She now has a cardioverter-defibrillator in her chest,
which detects arrhythmia and corrects it with a jolt of electricity, and
will have to take medication for the rest of her life.
The Goodies ran from 1970 to 1982. The
1975 Ecky-Thump episode – actually called Kung Fu Kapers – featured
Brooke-Taylor as a kilted Scotsman who uses his bagpipes to defend
himself against Oddie, a master of the ancient Lancastrian martial art
of Ecky-Thump, which involves hitting people with black puddings.
Mr Mitchell’s widow, who is now 86,
said at the time: ‘Alex was a Scot and it tickled him to see a Scotsman
fighting with his bagpipes. The programme was nearly over when he
Taking it easy: Lisa Corke with her husband Mick and her children Ellie (right) and Amelie. She can no longer do any strenuous exercise
LONG QT SYNDROME – A DISORDER THAT STRIKES WITHOUT WARNING
Long QT syndrome is an inherited disorder of the heart's electrical rhythm that affects around one in 10,000 people.
Usually symptoms appear in the teenage years but it may not be picked up till later in life.
A sufferer can experience short episodes of having a fast, abnormal heart rhythm which can lead to other symptoms such as fainting.
These episodes can be triggered by intense exercise, emotional excitement or fear.
There is often no warning before an episode but most people 'come round' again after two minutes as the heart rhythm returns to normal.
However, very occasionally the disruption can be life-threatening.
Medication can control the symptoms, although some patients need a pacemaker to regulate the heart.
If you have experienced fainting associated with exercise or strong emotions, and especially if there is a history in your family of the same problem, it's important to discuss it with your GP. Source: gosh.nhs.uk
For more information visit www.c-r-y.org.uk