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Football Legend Succumbs To Mesothelioma Lung Cancer

Football Legend Succumbs To Mesothelioma Lung Cancer

Hall of Fame football player, broadcaster and actor Merlin Olsen has died at age 69 of mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of lung cancer.

Olsen was a member of the “Fearsome Foursome” of the Los Angeles Rams, and was selected to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, a tie with Bruce Matthews for the longest streak in league history. In 1992, Olsen was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

As his football career ended, Olsen became an actor, with appearances on shows like “Little House on the Prairie” and “Father Murphy” as well as acting as a spokesman for FTD Group Inc.’s flower commercials. Furthermore, he was an avid college football commentator – Olsen was the voice of college football’s Rose Bowl from 1980 until 1988.

Olsen began chemotherapy after his initial diagnosis in 2009. Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos that attacks the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Although rare, mesothelioma patients often have a grim prognosis.

Mesothelioma can take upwards of 30 to 40 years to manifest, which makes it difficult to ascertain when the initial exposure occur. The World Health Organization has identified asbestos as a dangerous carcinogen, in which there are no safe levels of exposure. Ban Asbestos and other organizations are currently seeking a worldwide ban of the asbestos in all capacities, however it is a popular construction material in developing countries. In the United States, it can still be found in products in quantities of less than 1 percent.

Olsen claims he was exposed to asbestos as young as 10 or 11 years old in a mesothelioma lawsuit he filed in 2010. He also stated he may have been exposed while working in the construction industry while in high school and college. Many lawsuits have been filed against companies that did not warn individuals of the risks of exposure as far back as 50 years ago, including Olsen’s lawsuit.

Due to the hazardous nature of the fibrous substance, a licensed contractor is required by law in the United States to remove asbestos. The often time-consuming process is necessary to prevent civilians from exposure. Because asbestos was a common construction fiber, many older buildings may be contaminated, unbeknownst to its occupants.

Olsen’s fame has brought the threat of mesothelioma into the media spotlight, as many individuals may be unknowingly exposed. Contact your local health department if you suspect asbestos contamination, but do not try to remove material.

Get a FREE consultation with an experienced mesothelioma attorney at and learn more about the lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. In addition to environmental toxin litigation, has a wealth of information related to traumatic brain injuries and personal injury litigation.

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