New Book Details Final Days of Certain Celebrities

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 15, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: NBC reporter David Bloom endured extremely dangerous conditions in Iraq while trying to bring the story back to the public at home. Bloom passed away from a pulmonary embolism while he was there.

In a new book called "The Last Days of Dead Celebrities," we learn more about the final experiences of Bloom and many others, 15 famous people in all, including Ted Williams, Warren Zevon and others. Here now is the author of the book, Mitchell Fink.

Mitchell, I thought we knew what happened to David Bloom. Did we?

MITCHELL FINK, AUTHOR, "THE LAST DAYS...": Well, interestingly, John, with Bloom it was amazing how many people watched him kind of sail across on the way to Baghdad and people had premonitions about him. Even Tom Brokaw was concerned about him. It was amazing how many people thought he was way too exposed.

GIBSON: What finally happened there? We know about this pulmonary embolism but what about the drama?

FINK: The drama was that Bloom wasn't feeling right and he had a lot of cramps and there's an 800 number that any employee of NBC can call 24 hours a day, a hotline, and he called. They said to him, you know what, you ought to get out of there but he was on the ride of his life, the story of his life and it cost him his life.

GIBSON: I knew Bloom fairly well and he wouldn't have given up. He was very dogged. Did he understand what was happening to him at the end?

FINK: I don't think he did. He certainly knew he was cramping but Craig White, his cameraman, suddenly turned around and Bloom was on the ground and that was really the last time he was conscious.

GIBSON: And then that awful call to David's boss at NBC News.

FINK: And then they had to go to Melanie, to her house, and explain everything to her and call her and interestingly, when Tom Brokaw flew to Jordan, he got off the plane; he was supposed to meet Bloom eventually in Iraq and he saw the look on the guy's face, this driver that was picking him up and his first question was, "Is it Bloom?" So how do you get off the plane unless you, too, have premonitions?

GIBSON: You have 15 others in this book, all stories about, as you say, the last days. Why are last days so important?

FINK: I think it's an under reported aspect of celebrities' lives. I've covered celebrities for a long time and what you never get a sense of is if someone dies on a Friday, what Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday were like. That's what the book is about.

GIBSON: Mitchell Fink, the book is "The Last Days of Dead Celebrities." Mitchell, thanks very much.

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