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Michael Mosley and Christian faith

When I first heard the news of Michael Mosley’s disappearance on the island of Symi, I had a sense of foreboding which was confirmed four days later when his body was found. But more than that—I was taken by surprise at my sense of personal loss. Of course, there is always a rather unreal sense of attachment that fans feel about celebrities; fans feel they have a relationship with their hero which of course is entirely a projection.

But my sense of loss was tangible. It was not merely the tragic waste of a life—though the circumstances of his death were multiply tragic. He wrote only in March that he was two-thirds of his way to his goal of living to 100, a goal driven by the early death of his father and paternal grandfather:

My father died of heart failure at the age of 74, while my grandfather died of the same condition when he was just 66. My mother on the other hand, who is about to celebrate her 94th birthday, is still going strong.

His father had been diabetic due to weight gain since his fifties, and it was Michael’s discovery that he was pre-diabetic which led him to explore fasting and weight loss.

But the details of his death were heartbreaking. He had left his wife Clare on the beach where they were sitting (why? was he just feeling restless and bored?); he didn’t take his mobile phone with him (why not?); he had an umbrella with him to use as a parasol in the 40-degree heat, but lost it (why? what happened?); he took a wrong turn off the road back to the town they were staying; then clambered down a difficult and rocky hill, by now probably disoriented from heat exhaustion. He knew he was in trouble, as his body when found was in a pose recommended by doctors to counter dizziness. But the greatest tragedy of all was that he was by a wall which had a gate in it which he had missed; he was only 100 yards from a restaurant where he could have got help, and not far from a beach where people were swimming.

Part of my sense of loss arises from having been an avid Michael Mosley fan for many years. My children reminded me that weekly episodes of ‘Trust me—I’m a Doctor!’ were a fixture of our family tv viewing. I would try and watch anything that he appeared in, because he always combined an exploration of the scientific evidence with practical application.