It was 50 years ago today, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California, the world lost Walter Elias Disney. He was getting ready to undergo surgery to repair an old neck injury. While going through testing, prepping for surgery, the doctors had discovered a tumor on his lung and 5 days later confirmed the tumor was malignant. Walt had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. The doctors has discovered the cancer had spread to his entire left lung. On November 11th, the lung was removed, and Walt was told his life expectancy was six months to two years. Walt would only make it just over another month from the day of the lung removal. The official cause of death was “acute circulatory collapse”. His heart simply stopped beating.
This day is a sad one, as so many people looked to Walt as a family member. Walt loved people so much and spent his entire life finding ways to entertain families of all ages, and bring them closer together. Walt touched so many lives, and still does today.
Up until the evening before his passing, Walt was explaining his vision for EPCOT to his brother Roy. He used the ceiling tiles to explain how he wanted EPCOT designed. Knowing he wouldn’t be around, he still wanted his vision to be completed.
Walt will always be a true inspiration to me, as he is to many others. I love to learn and read about his life, I feel sometimes I know more about him than anyone. His creations and contribution to film, music, and theme parks are still impacting millions each and every day.
Having not even been born when Walt passed, like so many, I never had the opportunity to meet him. As I stated above, Walt is one of my inspirations. He never gave up on anything he tried. Through all the things that failed, it helped create everything that is still successful. Walt never stopped trying and never stopped learning. He pushed the envelope to create new technologies, to do things people said couldn’t be done. Walt not only saw what the future would be for us, but he helped create the future we know. It was his ideas and thoughts and the way he showed them to us that had us dreaming of what was to come.
One thing I have always read about Walt’s passing, is how it impacted his brother, best friend and business partner Roy. It’s said that Roy was in Walt’s hospital room after he passed. Walt’s foot was sticking out of the blanket, Roy began to gently rub Walt’s foot and looked to his brother and said “Well kid, it looks like the end of the road.” Roy was still the loyal and loving older brother to the end.
Thank you Walt for everything you did for us, you will never be forgotten in the millions and millions of lives you have touched. You will forever be missed.
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