Robert Thielke has died. President of Vern Fonk Insurance, Rob ranked as one of the most popular TV pitchmen for his Vern Fonk commercials that spoofed everything from Star Wars to Eminem, reported the Seattle Times.
Thielke started working at the homeowners and car insurance firm in 1989 in Seattle, enjoying his career as a leader and TV commercial king prior to his death from colon cancer at age 50.
And although the original Fonk came up with the ideas prior to his retirement and death in 2006, it was Rob who carried out with the concept. Thielke spoofed Forrest Gump, and even did a parody of Back To The Future.
In accordance with the wishes of the family, Vern Fonk Insurance will honor Rob’s memory by re-playing some of his favorite TV commercials, reported the Seattle PI.
After learning that Thielke had died, Vern Fonk’s Chief Operation Officer Craig Rexroat emphasized the contributes that the TV pitchman and leader had made to the company.
“In addition to his steadfast leadership, Rob enjoyed dreaming up ideas for TV commercials even before we had hired a production company,” said Rexroat. “Today with the passing of Rob the company will carry on but not without the impact of Robert A. Thielke III and the unforgettable brand that was built.”
Rob’s early death at 50 highlights the danger of colon cancer, and he’s not the only celebrity impacted by the disease. From Katie Couric to the co-creator of The Simpsons, Sam Simon, other stars have either been touched by or lost their lives to colon cancer, reported the Huffington Post.
Simon also passed away from the disease, sometimes known as colorectal cancer. Initially affecting the end of the colon or large intestine, colon cancer impacts over 100,000 people in the U.S. annually and ranks as the second leading cause of deaths related to cancer.
And although early detection remains possible along with treatment, one in three adults fail to get screened.
Who is most at risk? The American Cancer Society lists adults over age 50, along with those whose family history includes relatives with cancer.
For Katie Couric, the death of her husband, Jay, made her vow to fight back with the opening of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and Stand Up To Cancer. She also created the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health.
Sharon Osbourne also battled colon cancer. But after chemotherapy and surgery, she’s been free of cancer.
“You can go, ‘Why me?’ Or you fight the cancer and say, ‘You are gone,’ ” said Osbourne.
In addition, as the Inquisitr reported, actress Audrey Hepburn died of colon cancer. Audrey passed away at 63.
[Photo by Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images]