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Autopsy: The Last Hours of...

Mama Cass Elliott

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Anissa Jones

As the adorable Buffy in the hit 1960s sitcom Family Affair Anissa Jones was the most famous child star of her generation. But on August 28th 1976 she died at a friend’s house in Oceanside, California. She was only 18 years old. A photograph taken at the beach the previous day showed her in good physical shape. World-renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter investigates her life and last hours to solve the mystery of her sudden, tragic death.

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Bruce Lee

Martial arts superstar, Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong in mysterious circumstances aged just 32. An inquest concluded that his death was caused by a hypersensitive reaction to a prescription painkiller given to him for a headache. For more than forty years controversy has surrounded this conclusion with numerous theories emerging as to what might have caused his death. Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter has gained access to Bruce Lee’s autopsy and inquest report to dispel the rumors and reveal the real cause of Bruce Lee’s death.

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Chris Farley

Chris Farley was the larger-than-life Hollywood star regarded as one of the funniest comedians of his generation. His outrageous blend of physical slapstick and vulnerable charm earned him the adoration of the American public. After shooting to fame in the early 90’s as one of Saturday Night Live’s brightest talents, he went on to star in a string of hit movies. But on December 18th 1997 Chris’ body was found on the floor of his Chicago apartment, after four days of partying. He died alone aged 33. Now, Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter is taking a fresh look at the death of an icon who was loved by millions.

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Corey Haim

Corey Haim was the poster boy of 1980’s Hollywood, starring in “The Lost Boys”, “Lucas”, and “License to Drive.” Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter examines Corey’s autopsy report to dispel the rumors, and reveal the real cause of the actor’s tragic and untimely death at the age of 38.

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Cory Monteith

Cory Monteith was a global superstar. The clean cut all American quarterback on Glee idolized by millions of teens around the world. The TV phenomenon thrust him to instant stardom in 2009 and his public persona mirrored his on screen character. But on 13 July 2013 he was found dead on his hotel room floor, aged only 31. Forensic Pathologist, Michael Hunter, discovers that Cory was not what he appeared and beneath his clean cut exterior lay a dark and troubled past that would come back to haunt him.

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David Bowie

In January 2016 rock music icon David Bowie died from cancer just 2 days after his 69th birthday. His death came as a total surprise – but it quickly emerged that Bowie had kept terminal illness a secret for 18 months from even his closest friends. Now, Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter is taking a fresh look at David Bowie’s death and will reveal the truth about the cancer that killed him and how Bowie staged managed the perfect finale for this ultimate showman.

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Don Cornelius

Don Cornelius was the legendary creator of the hit music and dance show, Soul Train. The “Godfather of Cool,” he took black music mainstream, provided the first national exposure on American TV for black musicians and dancers and redefined music, dance and fashion for generations. But on February 1st 2012 Don Cornelius was found shot dead at his home in Los Angeles. The LA County Coroner called it a suicide. Now, Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter is taking a fresh look at the death of an icon who inspired generations.

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Donda West

The mother of megastar Kanye West, Donda West went from modest beginnings, to raise her son to be one of the biggest rappers in the world, and as his manager, became a regular attendee at the brightest parties in showbiz. In doing so she broke every stereotype about single black women raising black sons. But, on November 10, 2007, Donda West, just 58, died 24 hours after cosmetic surgery. Kanye West blamed the fatal attraction of stardom, saying, “I feel sometimes like if me and my mom never moved to Hollywood that she’d still be here.” Using information revealed in Donda’s autopsy report and in interviews with those who cared for before she died, Dr. Michael Hunter investigates her tragic and untimely death.

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George Harrison

On 29th November 2001 amid much secrecy former Beatle George Harrison died after a short battle with lung cancer. His death at the relatively young age of 58 shocked fans across the world, especially since he had been allegedly been given the all clear just months earlier.… so did something go wrong? In this episode, expert coroner and Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter examines George’s medical history and hears from some of his close friends to try and work out what caused his cancer and if his lifestyle and career contributed in any way to his death.

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George Michael

George Michael was one of the most brilliant performers of his generation. In a career spanning 35 years, his talent for creating enduring music led him to become one of the greatest recording artists of all time. Following global fame with the pop group Wham!, his solo career sent him into the stratosphere and for a time, it seemed, he was unstoppable. But the death of both his lover and mother, along with the pressures of hiding his homosexuality, resulted in severe depression. Away from public view, this gifted star hid a tortured soul. He would sit at home with the curtains closed, ingesting all kinds of chemicals and alcohol – numbing himself to the pain that never went away. A string of lurid headlines documented a slide into self-destruction, which only ended with his untimely death, at the age of 53. It was attributed to natural causes, but rumour and suspicion that other forces were at play persist. Dr. Michael Hunter investigates what was going on in the singer’s body that caused him to die so suddenly, at such a young age.

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James Brown

James Brown was one of the most iconic and revolutionary performers of all time. He was known as the ‘Godfather of Soul’, ‘the Inventor of Funk’, ‘the Grandfather of Hip-Hop’ and ‘the Hardest Working Man in Show Business’ and he sold tens of millions of records. After decades at the top, the most sampled man in history was still touring in his 70s but on Christmas Day 2006 he died unexpectedly in a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Now renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter is reopening the case into James Brown’s seemingly death.

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Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was a true rock and roll icon and her explosive performances electrified audiences around the world. She fully embraced the rock and roll spirit of the age and had a music career that was going stratospheric. But on October 4th 1970, aged just 27 years old, Janis Joplin died alone in her Los Angeles hotel. Her body lay undiscovered for 18 hours. Forensic pathologist, Dr Michael Hunter is using Janis Joplin’s autopsy report to build up a picture of her last days and hours to find out exactly how this young, talented musician suddenly died.

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Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison lead singer of the 1960’s band The Doors was one of rock’s most influential but controversial cult icons. His mesmerizing lyrics and vocals earned him critical acclaim and drew the admiration of an army of fans as his outrageous drink and drug fueled behavior, on and off stage, established his reputation as a rebel and trouble-maker. A biographer described him as “an angel in grace and a dog in heat”. But on July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. He was just 27. The official cause was given as heart failure but many have dismissed this finding as a “fairy tale “ and his death still inspires rumor and conspiracy theory. Now medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter re-opens the file.

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Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was one of the highest paid musicians in the world. At the age of 27 he had made 3 multi-million albums and had set the gold standard in rock music electric guitar. But he died in London on the September 18, 1970. The coroner concluded that he died after breathing in his own vomit. But, stating insufficient evidence of the circumstances surrounding his death, he returned an open verdict. Nearly half a century later, his death is still shrouded in mystery. Numerous conflicting accounts of his final hours have obscured the truth and fueled conspiracy theories about drugs overdose, suicide and murder. Now Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter re-examines Hendrix’s death to cut through claim and counter claims and, using the medical evidence, determines precisely how he died.

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John Belushi

John Belushi was a comedy genius. The gross-out characters he created in Animal House and Blues Brothers were iconic. After a meteoric rise to stardom, 33 year-old he was on the cusp of super stardom. But on March 5th, 1982 he was found dead died in Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont Hotel. Using information revealed in John Belushi’s autopsy report, Dr. Michael Hunter investigates his final days and hours to reveal the cause of his death.

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Johnny Cash

On September 12, 2003, the world was mourning the loss of legendary singer Johnny Cash, who died in Nashville, Tennessee from respiratory arrest. Known for his heavy drug use and reckless attitude to his health, Johnny Cash reached the age of 71 and died shortly after his wife of 35 years June Carter. Many speculated that he died of a broken heart and others believed it was his wayward lifestyle that was to blame. Now, Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter is taking a fresh look at Johnny Cash’s death and will reveal whether years of drug abuse and hard-living led to the star’s demise or whether his death was due to something else entirely.

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Judy Garland

Judy Garland was one of the world's most recognised talents and her legendary career in film and on stage spanned generations. As a child star she won millions of fans playing Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz' and she went on to pack movie theatres and concert halls with her extraordinary voice. But as well as being famous for her tremendous talent she was also known for her turbulent lifestyle and stormy love life. Not long after her wedding to fifth husband Mickey Deans, on June 22, 1969, she was discovered dead in her bathroom. Judy’s sudden death sparked rumour and speculation and now Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter, examines her medical records to reveal exactly what caused the demise of this legendary Hollywood superstar.

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Lou Reed

Provocative and iconic rock star Lou Reed star transformed the face of modern music. From his teens, the founder member of the seminal Velvet Underground lived a life of outrageous excess, pushing everything beyond the limit. His fascination with subculture and the underdogs of society inspired his work, most famously with songs such as Heroin, Walk on The Wild Side and Waiting For The Man. Though he practiced what he preached, Lou lived to the age of 71. Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Hunter has found evidence of events in Lou’s early life that fueled the rebellious tendencies which defined his life and ultimately caused his death.

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Mama Cass Elliott

On July 29th 1974, Cass Elliot was found dead in a flat in London. She was 32 years old and her death shocked the world. One of the most influential figures of the hippy scene, she rose to fame as a member of folk-rock band The Mamas and The Papas, who took the world by storm with their hit single ‘California Dreamin’ along with a string of classic songs. Cass was loved and respected by everyone who knew her and her voice made her famous world-wide. Frank Sinatra once sent her a personal note saying “you have the best phrasing of any singer I’ve ever heard”. Redefining perceptions of how female artists should look and behave, she became a role model and icon for every girl that didn’t fit in at the high school prom. But her appetites for excess were as legendary as her voice. At her worst, she would get into her big convertible Cadillac and drive into the worst parts of town to score drugs. And her rollercoaster career was matched by an equally turbulent personal life. Her death was followed by speculation and rumour, had she choked on a ham sandwich? Had she overdosed on drugs? Was the cause of her death covered up in some way? The official verdict at the time was that she had died from fatty myocardial degeneration due to obesity. However it’s rare for someone of 32 to die from that alone. World renowned Medical Examiner Dr Michael Hunter believes there were other factors at play and is taking a fresh look at the evidence to uncover the truth behind what killed Cass Elliot.

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Marvin Gaye

On the afternoon of April 1, 1984, the day before his 45th birthday, Marvin Gaye was shot by his father. Now renowned forensic pathologist Dr Michael Hunter is reopening this bizarre case to discover what was happening both psychologically and physiologically to the bodies of Marvin Gay senior and Marvin Gaye junior at the time of the shooting that may explain the reason behind this tragic case of filicide.

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Maurice Gibb

Maurice Gibb was one third of global mega band, The Bee Gees. In a career spanning four decades, they sold over 220 million records. They were best known for their disco classics, high pitched singing voices, and boufant hairstyles. Whilst his brothers sang lead vocals, Maurice was the hidden talent that held the band together, considered by insiders to be the musical director. But on Wednesday January 8th, 2003, Maurice Gibb collapsed in agony at his Miami home. He died 4 days later, aged just 53. According to witnesses Maurice Gibb’s death came out of nowhere. So why Maurice went from healthy to collapse to death in 4 days is a mystery. Now forensic examiner Dr. Michael Hunter investigates the forensic evidence.

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Miles Davis

In September 1991 the legendary Jazz trumpet player Miles Davis died suddenly after going in to hospital for what he described as a ‘routine tune up’. He was just 65 years old. Rumors of addiction and ill health plagued him throughout life, but the exact cause of his death has remained obscure. Now, expert Coroner and Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter is re-examining his medical history in order to finally reveal the true cause of Miles Davis’ death.

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Mindy McCready

In February 2013 Country Music singer Mindy McCready shot herself on the porch of her house in Heber Springs Arkansas. Now, world-renowned Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter puts Mindy's complex personal life under the spotlight, and reveals how her unhealthy relationship with prescription medication may have exacerbated an un-diagnosed mental condition and led Mindy to plan her own death.

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Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood was Hollywood’s hottest actress for her generation. She married screen legend Robert Wagner not once but twice. They were the Hollywood dream couple and enjoyed a spectacular lifestyle. But on November 29th, 1981, during what was supposed to be a relaxed weekend sailing trip, 43 year old Natalie was found dead. The cause of death was officially certified as ‘accidental drowning’ but why Natalie Wood left the yacht and drowned has never been answered: was it accident, suicide or something more sinister? Now medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter is taking a fresh look at one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries.

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Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G., rapped about girls, guns and money. His rhyming skills and flow propelled him to worldwide fame. A larger than life figure from Brooklyn, New York, his raw talent lifted him from the streets. But in the early hours of March 9th 1997 The Notorious BIG was gunned down in a drive by shooting in downtown Los Angeles. For decades, police have hunted for his killer, but still no-one has been brought to trial. Using information revealed in his autopsy report and police files, Dr. Michael Hunter investigates a motive for BIG’s murder and the identity of his killer.

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Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman was a comedy legend. HIs satirical impressions on Saturday Night Live ruffled the feather of America’s most powerful. On The Simpsons, his voice gave life to 18 iconic characters. He was one of America’s favorite comic actors. But in May 1998 Phil Hartman’s family home was stormed by armed police who found him shot to death in his bedroom. The horror escalates when police confirm Phil’s wife Brynn is by his side – also shot dead. Using information revealed in Phil and Brynn’s autopsy reports Dr. Michael Hunter investigates their tragic and untimely deaths.

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Rodney King

In March 1991, Rodney King was savagely beaten by four white police officers. The incident was caught on camera, and broadcast around the world. The four police officers were then found ‘Not Guilty’, triggering the infamous LA riots. It was King who famously called for peace, asking, “Can we all just get along?” But on Sunday June 17th 2012, King, age 47, was found by his fiancé, face down in his backyard swimming pool. Using information revealed in Rodney King’s autopsy report Dr. Michael Hunter investigates his final hours and his mysterious death.