Actor and singer Jim Nabors’ cause of death has yet to be announced, one day after he died at the age of 87 at his Diamond Head, Hawaii home. But a report shed some light into the Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. star’s final days, which included a stay in a hospital emergency room last week, and a series of medical tests just one day before his death.
According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Nabors was admitted to the Queen’s Medical Center emergency room on Wednesday, November 22, suffering from a case of the shingles. He was discharged one day later, as he returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his husband, Stan Cadwallader, and about 30 guests.
It wasn’t specifically stated that Jim Nabors’ health took a turn for the worse in the days that followed, but the Honolulu Star Advertiser noted that the actor returned to the hospital on Wednesday, November 29, to undergo a series of unspecified tests. According to Cadwallader, that was when Nabors asked the doctors if he could return home, where he died on Thursday morning.
“That’s what his wishes were,” Cadwallader explained.
While it cannot be established either that Jim Nabors’ bout with shingles is related to his cause of death, the Mayo Clinic’s website notes that shingles is not a life-threatening condition. It is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. Since the virus could remain dormant in a person’s nerve tissue for years after they get chickenpox, there’s a chance that the virus may reactivate in the form of shingles. The U.K. National Health Service website, however, also warns that shingles could cause complications in older individuals and those with weakened immune systems, and may result in death for about one out of every 1,000 people aged 70-years-old and above.
Aside from the health issues he dealt with in the week or so before his passing, Jim Nabors’ health in general had been declining for about a year, wrote the New York Times, citing statements from Stan Cadwallader. Nabors also had to deal with a suppressed immune system, dating back to his 1994 liver transplant and a bout with hepatitis B a few years prior to the transplant. According to the New York Times, Nabors believed he had contracted the disease in India after accidentally cutting himself shaving with a contaminated razor.