Comedian John Belushi had cocaine in his system when he tragically died 35 years ago. But were there OTHER factors that contributed to his sudden death? That's the question a new Reelz special aims to answer.
Belushi was headed for super-stardom, after helping launch Saturday Night Live and starring in blockbuster movies including The Blues Brothers and Animal House. But on March 5, 1982, at only 33-years-old, Belushi was found dead in a Hollywood hotel.
Friends say Belushi was always stressed, and looking over his shoulder at his competition. This led to an addiction to drugs, but also contributed to an eating disorder.
"John had a huge appetite. The way he physically ate food was larger than life," journalist Mike Walker revealed. "He would stuff himself. He could not eat enough food."
And all that food he was guzzling down was doing massive damage to his body, according to forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter.
"His obesity is a stressor on his heart," Hunter explained. "It causes the heart to have to work harder to push blood around the body, resulting in hypertension. That can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death."
Hunter poured over all 24 pages of Belushi's autopsy report, and says there were a number of factors that all added up to death.
"I think it's unlikely given his age and the fact he's only 222 pounds, that (obesity) is going to be the sole reason for his death," Hunter said. "But his obesity carries other hidden risks."
Still, experts agree that the weight issues were a critical contributor to the loss.
"One of the themes that we see in John's life is this binging," psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopolous revealed. "People that binge eat use it as a mechanism to cope with difficult feelings to soothe, to comfort themselves. And this certainly would have applied to John."
Find out more about the shocking death of Belushi when Autopsy: The Last Hours of John Belushi, airs Saturday, March 4, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Reelz.
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