DID PROZAC KILL DEL SHANNON?
I’m walking in the rain
Tears are falling and I feel the pain
Wishing you were here by me
To end this misery
On February 8, 1990, Del Shannon, whose megahit ‘Runaway’ had rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts, shot himself in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. He was 55.
His wife, LeAnne, returned to their home in Santa Clarita, Califoria, at 11:30 pm from shopping to find him slumped in a chair, the rifle next to his body.
Del Shannon, whose real name was Charles Westover, suffered from depression and alcoholism. Shortly before killing himself he had started taking the antidepressant Prozac.
HIS WIDOW SUED THE DRUG COMPANY
LeAnne sued Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac, alleging it contributed to his suicide. The lawsuit claimed the company did not properly test the drug and failed to warn doctors of its possible side effects.
His behavior became erratic when he started on Prozac, his wife said, drastically altering his moods and personality.
The suit was eventually dropped, but the case brought attention to the possible connection between suicides and drugs like Prozac.
Del Shannon’s 1961 hit ‘Runaway’ sold at a rate of 80,000 singles a day, and became the theme song for the NBC drama series Crime Story that ran for two seasons from 1986 to 1988.
Del Shannon, who was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2005.
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