Professor Rosemary Pope Dies Of Anorexia At Age 49

Professor Rosemary Pope, 49 years old, passed away this week. Pope, an anorexic weighing less than 5 stone (70 pounds) is reported to have eaten little more than coffee, soft cheese, and diet sweets, according to an inquest heard yesterday. She was renowned as an exceptional academic who was engrossed in her work, hiding her 30 year battle with anorexia from her colleagues. This year, as she struggled with the demands of her position as Pro Vice Chancellor of Bournemouth University, her body began to fail.

Her brother, Michael Pope, told the inquest of Rosemary's struggle with eating since she was a teenager. "We were fully aware she had an eating disorder but were very wary of broaching the subject in case it caused her distress", he said. He added that they never suspected her eating habits would result in her death.

This past January Professor Pope contracted a stomach virus. Though her colleagues spoke to her of their concerns about her weight loss she refused to see a doctor. Her body was too weak to fight the virus and she collapsed at her home where she was found dead March 21st. It is suspected that the strain of carrying groceries "may have caused her frail body to fail" the previous day.

Professor Pope, was 4’ 10” tall and suffered hypoglycemia which "probably caused her to fall into a coma and her heart to stop beating." Her heart was the size of a child's from having starved herself for so long, the inquest reported.

"Michael Pope told the inquest his sister took desperate measures to avoid eating. When she went to stay with him, she brought her own food and refused what he offered. At Christmas 2007, Professor Pope invited her two brothers and their children to her house, where she provided a 'feast" but she left the room while they ate."

She was said to have an "unusually vivacious and outgoing personality" with a "robust sense of humour."



HoneyBee said...

Such a sad story. The fact that it is believed that the act of carrying some groceries in was too much of a physical strain, that resulted in her death, speaks volumes regarding the daily risks that Anorexia poses.

MrsMenopausal said...

It's very sad.

People tend to forget that the heart, a muscle, is also damaged when you starve yourself which causes the loss of lean muscle.

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Honey.

Medusa said...

"Her heart was the size of a child's from having starved herself for so long, the inquest reported."

Absolutely heartbreaking. Such a loss. :^(

My blog: Medusa

MrsMenopausal said...

ITA, Medusa.

Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I appreciate it.

Arielle said...

It's so sad to read or hear about those who have lost their battle with anorexia (or any eating disorder for that matter). It breaks my heart sometimes. But I am comforted by using my own struggle to spread awareness and recovery support--and I am comforted in knowing that your blog will also reach people.

So many lovely, vivacious people with many beautiful lives lost...

Thank you for always sharing vital stories, Mrs. M.