A look at David Soul's final years and his 'brave battle for life', including the Starsky & Hutch co-star's 72 days in intensive care with cancer: 'I'm a fighter'
American-British actor and singer David Soul died on Thursday at the age of 80.
David gained worldwide recognition playing Hutch in Starsky & Hutch, an American crime action television series that ran from 1975 to 1979.
Although the cause of death has not been released, the actor battled cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in his later years, as well as a 72-day stay in intensive care.
Here we look at David's 'brave battle for life' and the health problems that plagued his life in his final years…
72 days stay in the ICU
American-British actor and singer David Soul sadly passed away on Thursday at the age of 80 (pictured in 2017 with Paul Michael Glaser)
David gained worldwide recognition playing Hutch in Starsky & Hutch, an American crime action television series that ran from 1975 to 1979 (pictured in a 1977 still).
In 2017, Soul underwent hip replacement surgery that unexpectedly led to a critical health crisis.
After the procedure, he became unconscious and spent an astonishing ten weeks in intensive care.
Medical professionals did not believe he would survive and therefore transferred him to end-of-life care.
Looking back on those scary days, David said: 'I spent 72 days in intensive care, being put on a ventilator twice and having a tracheostomy… I couldn't walk, I couldn't do anything, I was in delirium. '
David's will to live defied all odds and after being sent to the Royal Free Hospital as a last resort, he underwent treatments that saved his life.
At the time he expressed his admiration for the NHS, describing it as 'simply the best'.
Lung cancer and surgery
Although he overcame this hurdle, David's health problems continued until his death.
Before quitting the habit 15 years ago, David smoked three packs of cigarettes a day.
He battled lung cancer and COPD – a lung disease – and eventually underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his left lung.
David's strength helped him through these trials, but he also relied on the strength of another: his fifth and final wife Helen Snell, a public relations executive
David underwent further surgeries, namely decompression surgery on his spine and the implantation of prosthetic discs in his neck.
In 2009, the actor revealed that he had suffered from crippling back pain for more than thirty years and was irritated by his stunt work.
'It (stunts) didn't help. “I think a lot of the action I've done in films over the years probably hasn't helped the situation much,” he told the Daily Express.
'Luckily it has never stopped me from working. I worked through the pain. You have to learn to live with pain. There is a threshold and you can live within that threshold. I'm in pain now, every day of my life I'm in pain. But somehow I can get through it.”
The musician suffered nerve damage that led to arm paralysis and prevented him from playing the guitar, and at one point he was dependent on a wheelchair.
David's strength carried him through these trials, but he also relied on the strength of another: his fifth and final wife, Helen Snell, a public relations executive.
He said: 'I'm a fighter and I fought through this. There's no doubt about it, but without Helen I would never have made it. She is amazing.'
Also with him every step of the way was his Starsky & Hutch co-star Paul Michael Glaser, 80. David said of Paul in November 2023: 'He is and always will be my best friend, my brother'
David Soul's death was announced on Friday in a tweet from Helen from his official Twitter account
David Soul's death was announced on Friday in a tweet from Helen, 50, from his official Twitter account.
It read: 'David Soul – beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother – died yesterday after a valiant struggle for life in the loving company of family.
“He shared many extraordinary gifts in the world as an actor, singer, storyteller, creative artist and dear friend.
She ended: “His smile, laughter and passion for life will be remembered by the many whose lives he touched.
Also with him every step of the way was his Starsky & Hutch co-star Paul Michael Glaser, 80.
David said of Paul in November 2023: 'He is and always will be my best friend, my brother.'
The two reprized their roles in the 2004 remake Starsky & Hutch, starring Ben Stiller as Starsky and Owen Wilson as Hutch.