Writers

How Did Joseph Heller Die – (1923 – 1999)

Date of Birth May 1, 1923
Date Of Death December 12, 1999
Age 76 Years
Death Cause  Heart Attack 

American novelist Joseph Heller, born on May 1, 1923, is well known for his novel “Catch-22,” a witty critique of war and bureaucracy. Sadly, he passed away on December 12, 1999, due to a heart attack as a result of previous suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare nerve disorder. 

Joseph Heller was born in the busy centre of New York City on May 1, 1923. He was born to be a famous American writer. With a Bachelor’s degree from New York University and a Master’s degree from Columbia University, he set out on a writing journey that would change the world of satire and black comedy. When his masterpiece, “Catch-22,” came out in 1961, it made him a literary star and gave us a word that is now part of the language of absurdity. People liked Heller’s sharp wit and frank criticism of war and bureaucracy. He got married twice, the first time to Shirley Held from 1945 to 1984 and the second time to Valerie Humphries from 1984 until his death

Destiny is a good thing to accept when it’s going your way. When it isn’t, don’t call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck! (Joseph Heller).

Following the monumental success of “Catch-22,” Joseph Heller embarked on a part-time academic career, sharing his literary wisdom as an adjunct professor of creative writing at esteemed institutions like Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1970s, he assumed the role of a distinguished professor at the City College of New York, nurturing the talents of aspiring writers.

  • His Health Sufferings and Medical Condition 

Joseph Heller’s life changed dramatically when he was told on December 13, 1981, that he had Guillain–Barré syndrome, a paralysing disease. He was rushed to Mount Sinai Medical Hospital, where he spent weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, unable to move because of the illness. He was finally moved to the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine on January 26, 1982. This was the start of a long and hard road to recovery. Heller’s inspiring fight against this illness is vividly told in his autobiographical work “No Laughing Matter,” in which he and his close friend Speed Vogel take turns telling the story in alternate chapters. The book also shows how important friends like Mel Brooks, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman, and George Mandel helped him through this hard time.

I don’t believe in miracles because it’s been a long time since we’ve had any! (Joseph Heller).

Over this, Joseph Heller got better because he was strong and determined. In 1987, he fell in love again and married a nurse who had helped him get better, Valerie Humphries. Heller never lost his love for teaching and learning. In 1991, he went back to St. Catherine’s as a visiting Fellow, which strengthened his ties to academia. He was given the title of Honorary Fellow by the college, which shows how much of an effect he had.

  • His Remarkable Journey And Final Chapter of Life

In 1998, Heller wrote a book about his life called “Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here.” In it, he talked about his amazing journey. He talked about how he grew up as the son of a deliveryman and gave interesting details about what made him write “Catch-22.” As an atheist, Heller looked at life’s riddles with an open mind and a sense of wonder.

The end of Joseph Heller’s writing legacy came soon after he finished his last book, “Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man.” In December 1999, he died of a heart attack at his home in East Hampton, Long Island. His loss is truly felt by every heart and he gets a huge tribute for what he left behind. His work continues to fascinate and make people think all over the world.

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