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Pulmonary Fibrosis Contributes to Beloved Civil Rights Writer and Folk Singer Odetta's Death
Date:12/4/2008

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Music and civil rights icon Odetta succumbed December 2 as a result of multiple illnesses. One of them was pulmonary fibrosis (PF), an illness that relentlessly fills the lungs with scar tissue and suffocates its victims, and is one of the deadliest yet least well known diseases in the country. Despite being diagnosed with PF two years ago, a diagnosis that was essentially a death sentence, Odetta went on to perform extraordinary concerts all over the world. Her doctors were amazed at her determination to sing while battling the disease. Despite her markedly reduced lung capacity, she managed to complete entire concerts and only access her supplemental oxygen as she left the stage.

Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a tissue debilitating lung disease that causes progressive scarring of the lungs, ultimately robbing a person of the ability to breathe. As many people die each year to PF as to breast cancer, yet most have never heard of it until they receive the devastating diagnosis. More than 128,000 suffer from the disease and incidence and prevalence has increased more than 150 percent in the last several years.

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of such a beloved singer and civil rights legend," said Mishka Michon, chief executive officer for the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF). "We lose 40,000 people a year to this disease (as many as are lost to breast cancer), and each loss is painful. Odetta's death highlights for the nation, and for her fans, what those of us fighting pulmonary fibrosis already know - that there is a killer disease randomly striking thousands and we have no treatments. Marlon Brando, Gordon Jump and Robert Goulet's lives were among those cut down by pulmonary fibrosis - we don't want to see these losses continue at their current pace. We can only hope that, with increased awareness and funding for research, the future will change for others
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SOURCE Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
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