Cause of young mezzo’s death is made public

Cause of young mezzo’s death is made public


norman lebrecht

October 12, 2013

The sudden and shocking death last month of Felicity Smith, 33, was caused by a pulmonary embolism, it has been disclosed. She had previously been treated for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in her native New Zealand, but was taken off the medication some time before.

As one who has lost a dear friend some years back to a similar cause, may I urge all who have been treated for this condition never to change medication without consulting a second opinion.

The loss of Felicity Smith has left a deep sense of shock among London’s opera community.



  • HC, Cleve. says:

    This is becoming a travelers epidemic. For those on extended flights, it never hurts to stay hydrated and keep moving.

  • Shocking! Sincerest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues!

  • dar says:

    such a waste… my mum had DVT at age 75rafter a trans Canada flight.We promptly took her to the TraditionalChineseMedicine Doctor. The acupuncture,along with the herbs, had her right as rain after onlly Two weeks! [all the more amazing since she had a decades old history of many varicose vein operations…] Yes, the herb concoction was vile, but she had to drink it only six times, unlike ‘modern’ medicine, which in the majority of cases, requires a lifetime regimen of clot bustering drugs, with attendant, dangerous & debilitating side effects.]

  • Una says:

    The trouble is you can have a pulmonary embolism, like a fatal heart attack, and never have been on a plane. Such a shock for those left behind when someone is here one day and gone the next. With deepest sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues – such a loss.

  • Ken Weiss says:

    This is a traveler’s epidemic. In addition to HC comments, seeking the opinion of a hematologist regarding predisposing factors[esp family history] and appropriate management is always recommended

  • Ehkzu says:

    My spouse got a DVT on a 12 hour flight to the Philippines from California 13 years ago. But what nearly killed her was the fact that she has a blood chemistry mutation mostly found in people with ancestry from the former East Germany (Leiden). This was undiagnosed, causing the doctors to give her the wrong medication, She wound up with four pulmonary embolisms at once and a stint in the ICU.

    So–if you travel long distances, get up and walk around every few hours–interrupting your sleep to do so; move your legs frequently even while in your seat; consider compression stockings (ones strong enough to be therapeutic are quite uncomfortable).

    AND–have your DNA analyzed by or some such. We had that done recently and the DNA analysis included finding my spouses Factor V Leiden mutation. Don’t assume the doctors know about it. Costs $99 US, so not a huge financial burden and generates reams of interesting data (like I found I’m 3.1% Neanderthal).

    The needs to avoid DVTs go up considerably if you have this mutation.