09-07-11 Wednesday


My heart is broken as I write this.  I am so sorry to have to tell all of you our sad news in this way.


Tuesday night, at Johns Hopkins, Bruce passed away.  


He had seen his children on Friday- with love all around.  He and I spent a quiet and wonderful weekend, listening to his music.  He had his best day yet on Monday; even the doctors thought we were turning a corner. But his tired and weak body just couldn’t rally anymore. Bruce was peaceful and in no pain.


I know he would want me to thank all of you for the amazing support, and love, and words of encouragement since our journey began.  I thank you too. Bruce was never happier than when he was teaching and this blog allowed him to do that.  It sustained him through many tough months.  You all sustained him through many tough months. 


When I know about arrangements later today, I will let you know.


Thank you.




Lisa (and Bruce)


60 Responses to “”

  1. dswedlow Says:

    There are no words adequate to express the sorrow that attends Bruce’s passing. Of all my fraternity brothers at MIT, Bruce was the shining example of fun, mirth, and good times. His passing after a very difficult year brings to a close a life filled with joy, laughter, worth and accomplishment.

    He will be missed greatly.

    Lisa, please know that Ruthie and I feel your loss.

    David & Ruth

  2. Johnny De Philo Says:

    Dear Lisa
    We are so very very sorry to hear of Bruce’s passing. His strength, his wisdom, his humour will live forever through these pages and of course within all of our hearts. Take care, sweet Lisa; we will be in touch later. We love you, and we love Rachel and Ethan. And we love Bruce
    Johnny and Lake

  3. Cheryl McCullough Says:

    My heartfelt condolences to you, Lisa, and the rest of your family. I have been inspired by the devotion Bruce had for his career and his family, as revealed through this blog. I had followed earnestly each and every post since he started this literary journey, and am sad to hear of his passing.

    May peace and love find you and yours during this difficult time.

    Cheryl McCullough
    Vancouver, BC

  4. wendy dan Says:

    You came into his life and captured his heart. And your love endured through these toughest of times. By his side every step of the way, you were his sweetie, his one true love and his champion. You are my hero. His kids will no doubt continue to follow in his footsteps and change the world we live in. And so many benefited from Bruce as the grand role model. We have talked about the legacy his grandfather Gene Bespalow left. And is his own right he’s left a legacy that we will be talking about for the rest of our lives. As he left a huge footprint. Love, Hugs and Prayers. wendy

  5. Andrew Lemer Says:

    I’m so sorry!

  6. Robin Miller Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Lisa. Bruce was a wonderful friend and mentor. He will be missed by so many. Much love and hugs to your family. He is and always will be an amazing person. Love, Robin

  7. Ken Zwick Says:

    Dear Lisa, Rachel, and Ethan,

    Please know that Ruth and I share deeply in your grief on this sad day. Bruce towered above ordinary men. As long as we have known him he has been been an unparalleled source of friendship, wisdom, knowledge, entertainment, decency, compassion, and love. He meant so much to so many people. We hope you find comfort in the wondeful legacy Bruce has left behind.

    Ken & Ruth Zwick

  8. Donna Hill Howes Says:

    Dearest Lisa,
    Our love and thoughts are with you today, and everyday moving forward…one step at a time. Your amazing strength and love inspires us all. Bruce leaves a legacy for us all….and through you and your two beautiful kids, he lives on….

  9. judy moss Says:

    Dear Lisa and Family,
    We are so very sad and sorry to hear that Bruce lost his courageous battle. He was such an inspiration to us all and his passing leaves a huge void. He will never be forgotten. We hope that the wonderful memories that you and your children have of him will help to ease your pain. May his soul rest in peace.
    Love, Judy and Larry

  10. Bill Israel and Eileen Breslin Says:

    Oh Lisa,
    Our hearts are broken, as well. We send our love to you and the children. Bruce fought so hard with your love and support. He, and you, inspired us all, in teaching us throughout this ordeal.
    Love, Eileen and Bill

  11. Ed Baker Says:

    HI Lisa,

    Judi called me and told me the bad news. My son Adam and I want to pass along our deepest regrets to you and the kids. We hoped that his fight would give everyone the best result. Perhaps it did. We learned so much from him along the way. HIs illness became a lesson for us all.

    His unusual dedication to his blog will be an inspiration to those who have similar struggles. So he has left an important legacy. Still I know how much it hurts and I hope you, Rachel and Ethan can find peace and happiness once again as quickly as possible.

    Our loving heart goes out you.


    Ed Baker (and Adam).

  12. Marlene Cimons Says:

    Lisa, I am so deeply saddened for you and your family. Bruce was an uncommon individual, one of a kind. It is inconceivable to imagine a world without him in it. I hope there is some small comfort in knowing that his words – his wisdom, insight and humor – will live forever.
    -Marlene Cimons

  13. Peggie Neill Says:

    Lisa –
    I think all of us probably sit with bowed head and tears in reading this post. I am so very sorry for this news. To think of Bruce is to think of adjectives like vivid, funny, fun, insightful, incredibly knowledgeable, and more. His passing feels like a vacuum – until thinking about what he gave us, how he inspired us, what he has left us. There’s a very very large and multi-dimensional legacy for us all to figure out.
    You, your children and your families are in everyone’s heart. You have our prayers, thoughts, support and deep appreciation for everything you have managed to do with such grace.


  14. darya nasr Says:

    Dear Lisa,

    words cannot express the sadness we all feel. Though we only met Bruce a few years ago, his kindness had a profound impact on us. We will remember him fondly, we will remember his courage and dedication to educate and I will alway remember your courageous fight along his side, always with a smile, never tired, always with the most positive of energy.

    With a heavy heart,
    Darya, Vali and Hossein Nasr

  15. Alpa and Ken Says:


    We are all heartbroken with you. Bruce has left a wonderful and sustaining legacy by teaching all of us so much — not just about medicine and illness, but about life and living — with his blog. And what a wonderful legacy he has left with your two beautiful and smart children, Rachel and Ethan. You yourself are an amazing person, and I hope you know that all of us out here are in awe of you.

    — Alpa, Ken, Jordan and Kayla

  16. Nada Jensen Says:

    I have been following this blog since my husband was diagnosed with MDS & am saddened to read of Bruce’s passing. He & you have been courageous & tireless in this difficult battle. May you find comfort in the memories you have of him. Please accept my deepest sympathy. May his memory be eternal.

    Nada Jensen

  17. Joe Robertson Says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Words cannot express the sorrow that I feel in my heart for you. Bruce was a wonderful man, and you were the wonderful wife he needed throughout this ordeal. We know what a trial it has been for you, too, and how strong you have had to be. The pain you are feeling in your heart, and will continue to feel, is proof that although Bruce is absent, he is not really gone. He lives on in your heart and the hearts of all who feel pain at his passing. So many people love you; please take the strength we are offering you from our hearts, share it with Rachel and Ethan, and keep a big part of it for yourself in these difficult moments.

    All our love,

    Joe, Catherine, Claire and Antoine Robertson

  18. Seth , Evan & Michael Haimovitch Says:

    My sons & I want to pass along our deepest regrets to you and the kids.
    Bruce was one of kind great person..
    Love Seth,Evan & Michael Haimovitch

  19. Bill Schaffner Says:

    Peace be unto you.

    Bill & Lois

  20. Ashby Says:

    What a great guy. I will miss his wry sense of humor.

  21. Dave Ross Says:

    Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. My staff and I wish you and your family strength, and join you in mourning a fantastic man and educator. Bruce touched our lives here, touched the lives of millions of patients nationally, and will always, always be missed.

  22. Debbie Blum Says:

    Dear Lisa and Family,

    I am so very sad at this very great loss of a wonderful person. Please try to draw strength from the love and thoughts pouring in from those whose lives Bruce touched.

  23. Lynn and Jon Horowitch Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    Our sincerest condolences to you, Rachel and Ethan. Bruce was a truly wonderful man, and we are deeply sorry for your loss.
    With love, Lynn and Jon

  24. Art Ulene Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    I am shocked and saddened by the news. Bruce was an inspiration to so many of us. He unselfishly shared his wisdom, experience, good humor and love–even in the most difficult of recent times, I feel lucky to have had him in my life. Priscilla and I send our love to you and Rachel and Ethan.


    Shirley and I lament the loss of a truly good man. We knew Bruce through our relationships at JAMA and AJDC many years ago, revived by our association with the Patient Channel, which he pioneered. Bruce was a true renaissaince man with not only scientific and medical interests, but wide knowledge and appreciation of literature, media, and all of the arts. We will miss his friendly smiles, his warm personality and his generosity. Vince and Shirley Fulginiti, Tucson Arizona

  26. Catherine O'Brien Says:

    Dear Lisa,
    I just checked my email and I am stunned. I feel as if I got to know Bruce so much better through this blog – and got to know a lot about the medicine and the human body as well. My heart breaks for you, Rachel and Ethan and well, for all of us. Thank you for allowing us to share your intimate journey. I wish I were not so far away but know that I hold you all close in my heart.
    With love and sorrow, Catherine

  27. Tom Linden Says:

    Dear Lisa,

    I am so saddened by Bruce’s passing. His courage, good humor, passion and compassion, and wonder about the world around him will be missed. You and Bruce have been an inspiration to us all. Cindy and I send our love to you, Rachel and Ethan.

  28. Cathy Russo Says:

    My heartfelt condolences to you, Rachel, and Ethan. I will always remember Bruce’s warm and wonderful smile. May peace be with you. Cathy Russo

  29. Ann Compton Says:

    Such strength. Bruce has given everyone a legacy of understanding and compassion with his words.
    May you, Lisa, and your children find comfort in the prayers and love coming your way.

  30. joel steinberg Says:

    We are deeply saddened to receive this news. What a superb man we have lost. Our world cannot stand to lose many people like Bruce. With our heartfelt condolences, Joel and Margaret Steinberg

  31. Wendi Schneider Says:

    My heart is full of sadness and sorrow, but also with love and admiration for you both. Bruce touched so many lives with his brilliance and humor and his love of his family.
    You were the love of his life, his rock and strength and his incomparable partner. My family sends our love and thoughts to you and hope that you, Rachel and Ethan will be buoyed by all the love coming your way. You all have much to be proud of. Rest assured that Bruce will always live in your hearts and the hearts of many.

    Always with love,
    Wendi, Eddie & Leo

  32. Ann Bradley Says:

    Bruce is woven into the course my past 20 years–as he is for so many of us who work to communicate science news and health information. The blog is his best gift to this work and your part in it, Lisa, is equally large. Thank you for permitting us to share the journey. We learned a great deal–not least, how to live life in full.

    Ann Bradley

  33. John and Kristin Jameson Says:


    Bruce was a wonderful man. We will all miss him. Our love, thoughts and condolences are with you, Rachel and Ethan. The three of you were the inspiration that made every second of his life worthwhile. We know your memories of Bruce will give all of you strength and comfort in the future.


    John and Kristin

  34. Kathy Shands Says:

    Lisa –
    We are so sorry.
    We will miss Bruce terribly: his intelligence, his humor and his warmth.
    He fought such a good fight, and you were such q wonderful partner for him – in health and in sickness. Our thought are with you and with the kids.
    We will be in touch.
    Love, Kathy & Joe

  35. Sharon McDonnell Says:

    Bruce used to make fun of me for my news viewing habits and liberal tendencies. The fact that my experiences were completely un-representative of the “real” or “normal” world and therefore I would continue to be surprised by things was a source of creative inspiration to him I think. I carry these comments he used to chide me with in my head and use them to as part of my teaching and to laugh at myself.
    I was quite attached to the notion that he would survive and use this experience in amazing ways. Instead we all have to catch our breath and thank him and you for sharing each step of his journey with us.
    I was desperately ill this past spring and my husband became my blogger and my protector. I thought of this blog often and what odd and difficult struggles come with hospital life that are new and puzzling, painful and infuriating. I looked forward to comparing notes with Bruce. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your images of the last few days are ones of relative peace and I hope that is true. He knew he was loved and there wasn’t more you could do. I hope it brings a measure of companionship that there are so many out here connected to your family and this experience.
    The steps ahead of you now are both easier and more difficult. You will find whole landscapes of feeling that will surprise you. There will be bursts of gratitude and grief, both enough to fell you and moving in a tide of their own time. I wish for you much patience with these unasked for changes. Your relationship with Bruce will continue to grow and live and it is an amazing and wacko thing. I hope you find people to share this with as well.
    Make people write down their stories of Bruce so that you and your kids have them. Just ask them for vignettes of an experience or one memorable time so they don’t get overwhelmed. I have found these stories entry points into whole worlds of knowing my parents and they have become part of my new relationship with them.
    After I left Atlanta Bruce came up to Dartmouth every year to teach and do workshops. Hence, there is another whole universe of people that, like me, came to see the world in an entirely new way because of Bruce. In the past 2 years the grace and grit you have both shown has been an honor, thank you.
    Finally, make rituals for yourself– they help – and do these rituals more often and more creatively and for longer than you think sensible. I am happy to help. Like so many out here in the digital world I wish you the best, I will be thinking of you, and I will be happy to hear from you anytime.

    Sharon McDonnell and
    Gib Parrish

  36. Marcia & Wilson Says:

    Dear Lisa,

    Wilson and I are so sad and will miss this wonderful man that introduced us during medical school days. Much love to you and your dear children.

    Marcia, Wilson, Virginia, Stuart & Marley

  37. Susan Forman Says:

    Doug and I are deeply saddened to receive this news. Bruce’s genuine warmth was truly felt by everyone he knew. Sending our love to you, Rachel, and Ethan.

    Susan & Doug Forman

  38. Roxanne K. Young Says:

    Lisa, I am so devastated by this awful news and so very very sorry. Bruce was a mentor and friend to me and others here at JAMA for many years. But more than that: he was funny, caring, and wise. (He used to e-mail me about substandard copyediting he detected in the Journal, long after he left us! Just to keep us on our toes, I guess.) He was truly one of a kind and I will miss him very much. You and Rachel and Ethan are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Roxanne K. Young

  39. Barbara McKee Says:


    Craig and I were so very saddened by this news and like everyone else were hoping for a different ending. Bruce’s strength and positive attitude were more than anyone could have asked for and your love and devotion is unsurpassed by none. Our sincere sympathy to you, your children and the entire family. Bruce will be sorely missed by all.

    Barbara and Craig McKee

  40. Carolyn Hyde Says:

    Bruce was a wonderful and giving person. Patrick and I think the world of both of you, and I’m thinking through how I’ll tell Madeleine tonight that her good friend Rachel and her sweet brother Ethan, have just lost their fantastic Dad.

    You have been amazing in your strength throughout his illness, a wonderful supportive soulmate for Bruce. Your continued optimism has bouyed the hopes of your children and all of the family and friends that surround you. Maybe that’s why as I write this, I can’t really believe that it’s true. Condolences aren’t enough, I only wish I knew of something to say that would bring meaning to the sadness.

    Carolyn and Patrick

  41. Cliff Karchmer Says:

    Lisa, I cannot believe the news of this loss. When I do I will back in touch to express my admiration for Bruce, whom I have known since the age of five.

  42. Kate Turska Says:

    I’m sending my deepest condolences.
    I truly can not believe that Rachel and Ethan had lost their exceptional Dad. You and your family are in my prayers.

  43. winnie Says:

    llisa what can i do for you?
    I thought he was improving.
    I am sending a hug.

  44. Ilze Black Says:

    Dearest Lisa, We never lose the people we love. even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. Every time that I saw you either in iPop/iHop, the lobby of JH, or at Spinnker Bay, the love that you shared with Bruce was so evident. Our hearts and prayers are with you and your family. Ilze and Wayne Black

  45. Wendy Banner Says:


    We are so sad and surprised to hear the news about Bruce – he’s touched so many peoples lives and will be a lasting inspriation to so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Rachel and Ethan.

    Wendy, Bobby, Erica & Dani Banner

  46. Deborah Price Says:

    Dear Lisa, Rachael and Ethan,
    I am so sorry to hear of Bruce’s passing. I will remember his warmth and kindness.
    Wishing you all the strength that you need.
    With love and affection from me, Judas and Adam,

  47. frank Says:

    a valiant struggle that inspired and continues to inspire me. i will see you all later today, and expect that bruce, you too, will be watching. much love, frank

  48. Katie Weber, Geoff Ossias, Aaron Ossias and Simon Ossias Says:


    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the kids.

    Ossias Family

  49. Lynn Oliver Says:

    The world will never be the same.

    How lucky I was to meet you in 1965 Lisa, and again all those years later when Bruce came into your life, and therefore mine. I am a lucky woman to have had the honor of knowing you both.

    He was one of a kind.

    Love to him and you and Rachel and Ethan,

  50. Bill Silbnerg Says:


    Please accept my deepest condolences at this terrible, terrible loss. Everyone who knew and loved Bruce is devastated by the thought that we won’t have him in our lives any longer. Speaking as someone who knew him for so many years, during my time at JAMA and beyond, please know that he made a major difference in my life, taught me a tremendous amount and, perhaps more than anything, made me laugh, often and heartily. He was a mentor and a friend, and he made such a difference in so many lives.

    Given that he and you were so, so helpful to us when our son Jake, was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma for years ago, we feel this terrible news even more personally and deeply. Jake just began his freshman year at Harvard, with a goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. He hopes to help make a difference in the lives of those touched by this awful disease. You and everyone else who was so supportive during that dark time when he was ill have a piece of his future in your pockets and our undying thanks for your help.

    Our love and thoughts are with you and your family.

    Bill, Char and Jake Silberg

  51. Traci Says:


    I learned of Bruce’s passing today. My heart, thoughts and prayers are with you, Rachel and Ethan at this incredibly difficult time.

    Warmest regards,

    Traci Levine

  52. Bruce Rheins Says:

    Dawn and I are so shocked and saddened; you have our deepest, deepest sympathy. We love you.

    Bruce Rheins

  53. Jenny Goldberg Says:

    Oh Lisa, I just read your note on Bruce’s blog…and the tears can’t stop flowing. I feel so much for you and the kids. Bruce was an incredible man and father…he’ll always be remembered and loved. Sending so much love your way…Jenny

  54. Tia Says:

    Starkie, I just read this post and my heart goes out to you and the kids. If there was something I could do to help you and the kids, I would do it in a second. Yet, I don’t know what that could possibly be … I am here for you as always. Know that I ache for you and Rachael and Ethan … let me know if there is anything I could help you with …

    Much Love Always, Tia

  55. David Danar Says:

    I knew Bruce at Medical News Network in the early ’90s. He was a pioneer in an emerging world of exploding medical information. He reinforced my love of communication and teaching, introducing me to a world of wonder and extraordinary power to do good.

    The world is a much poorer place without him.

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

    David Danar, MD

  56. mike magee Says:


    It’s Sunday, early, and I just tuned in. I’m saddened and a bit lost – what to say. Here’s what I know: You have been wonderful and with your children brought as much good (by way of peace and love and
    presence and support and counsel to Bruce) to a bad situation as was humanly possible. Bruce had a unique and highly individualized goodness that touched so many – but each in a different way. I am grateful to have known and benefited from knowing him and you – and I admire his strength and determination, but also appreciate that he rests at peace. I wish for you and your children the same peace which I know from experience will only come with time – but it will come. God bless you.


  57. Hope Dan Says:

    Bruce’s Mom say thanks to you for all your support and sweet wishes, it’s been an increbible journey for all of us.
    He stayed as long as he had the strenth to survive, now he can rest in peace

  58. Joanna Schaffhausen Says:

    Lisa, I am so sad to hear this news. The medical community will have a large, Bruce-sized hole now. He will be sorely missed.

  59. Wally Says:

    Dear Lisa, Ethan and Rachel,
    Your husband (and dad) was a wonderful and unique individual. Mary and I will miss him. If there is anything we can do in support – don’t hesitate to ask. Much Love
    Wally Schlech

  60. Bruce Dan, MD-health communicator, dies | Weight Loss Says:

    […] His wife posted a note yesterday that Bruce had died. […]

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