Andy Warhol’s Death: Not So Simple, After All
By BLAKE GOPNIK
Credit: Associated Press
“Pop Icon Andy Warhol Dies After Routine Surgery” ran the headline in The Houston Chronicle. Time magazine questioned how “the country’s most famous pop artist dies in a prestigious big-city hospital after a rather routine gallbladder operation.”
A routine surgery: Some version of that story was repeated around the world in the days and decades after the death of the 58-year-old artist, the 30th anniversary of which is on Wednesday.
Dr. John Ryan, a medical historian and retired surgeon, has recast the story line. “This was major, major surgery — not routine — in a very sick person,” Dr. Ryan, emeritus chief of surgery at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, said in a recent phone interview.