Celeb death maths

So two more ‘celebrity’ deaths have been reported in the media this week – Victoria Wood and Prince, and probably a few more that slipped my notice. There’s been a lot on my news feed on Facebook and Twitter with people saying ‘Oh no not another one.’ It seems as though there have been a higher than usual amount of celebrity deaths this year starting with David Bowie in January. Or have there?

Being a mathematician I thought about this in terms of numbers. Firstly I am of a certain age, about 5 years ago in my mid-forties I realised that more than half the population of the world are now younger than me. People under 40 don’t seem to be overly concerned about these older people dying because they have not had much influence on their lives. Growing old is a privilege denied to many so once you get past 50 your chances of dying increase rather a lot each year. Thinking about how many films, TV programmes and musicians there are around these days statistically a few are going to die each week. Look how many obituaries there are in the papers each day – 3 or 4? And I bet some of these people did stuff that probably increased the likelihood of a shortened lifespan like David Bowie and his drugs, Victoria Wood and her weight. That’s not being judgemental – it’s a fact – they weren’t bothered they just enjoyed life.

So party like it’s 1999 or something like that and live like you’re going to die tomorrow. Because you might.

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