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Pages From Our Past: John Wayne dies at 72 after battle with cancer (1979)

As the Elkhart Truth celebrates its 125th anniversary, take a look back at this front page from June 12, 1979.

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 1:32 p.m.

June 12, 1979: John Wayne, also known as “The Duke,” dies after battle with cancer

After a courageous battle with cancer, Hollywood legend John Wayne died on June 11, 1979, just a couple weeks after he turned 72.

Wayne starred in nearly 200 movies over his 50 years on the silver screen, playing characters that included football players, soldiers and cowboys.

His battle with cancer had started in 1964, when he had part of his lung removed due to lung cancer. In January 1979, doctors found cancer in his stomach during a routine gallbladder operation in January. He was released from the hospital and attended the Academy Awards on April 9, where he received a standing ovation from the audience.

Wayne returned to the hospital at the beginning of May. The cancer had spread to his intestines. He stayed in the hospital for the duration of his fight. His health deteriorated and he passed away around six weeks later.

Also on the page is an update on two teenage boys who remained in critical condition after being struck by a car while riding a motorcycle the day before. The story says that the crash was the fourth involving a motorcycle since Saturday night, June 9, 1972.

The third story on the page details how a 26-year-old California man “furiously pedaled a flying bicycle resembling a giant dragonfly 22 miles across the English Channel” and won around $200,000.


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