NFL star, actor and sports broadcaster Merlin Olsen died of mesothelioma at the age of 69 last week in Duarte, California. A rare form of cancer, mesothelioma is overwhelmingly caused by asbestos exposure — in fact, it’s often called “asbestos cancer.” When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, they typically don’t have much time left. And there is currently no cure for it. Since asbestos was commonly used in various industries like construction and shipbuilding, many workers may have been unknowingly exposed to the dangerous material for years. It can take decades after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma to manifest.
Olsen was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year and underwent three courses of chemotherapy. He filed a lawsuit against several corporations, including NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox, last December for negligently exposing him to asbestos.
Merlin Olsen played 15 seasons for the Los Angeles Rams, only missing two games ever. In 1962, he was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. After retiring from the NFL, Olsen went on to be a sports broadcaster on NBC and eventually CBS. As an actor, he appeared on Little House on the Prairie and Father Murphy.
Olsen is survived by three of his brothers, five sisters, his wife, three children and four grandchildren.
Mesothelioma attacks the pleura membrane that surrounds the lungs, heart and lining of the abdomen. Asbestos is very dangerous when it’s disturbed, as the tiny asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs where the body is unable to break the mineral down. There is treatment available, but there is no cure. Victims must deal with pain, suffering and expensive medical bills.
If you or a loved one have mesothelioma as a result of someone else’s negligence, speak with a qualified, experienced mesothelioma attorney to find out the next steps to take. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and medical costs. To speak to a resource person, please call 1-888-370-0121.