Pac Man Dead at 24
Tarzana, Calif. (DPI) - Otto Burger, better known to the world as video
game pioneer Pac Man, was found dead in his lavish California condominium
last Thursday by his landlord. An autopsy report revealed the cause of death
to be extreme starvation brought on by anorexia nervosa.
His personal physician, Dr. Mario Tortini, said he had been diagnosed with
anorexia six months ago because of a lifetime of eating for a living.
"It was too much for him," Dr. Tortini said. "He said he would wake up every
morning and look in the mirror and hate the giant fat head that was looking
back at him."
Medical records show Man had also struggled with drug addiction following
the wild success of his first self-titled game in the early '80s with
"power pills," which doctors said are a form of steroids commonly used
to give patients with weaker immune systems short bouts of strength.
In order to overcome his addiction, he threw himself into his work, according
to Atari founder Nolan Bushnell. "He quit cold turkey," Bushnell said.
"He replaced his need to work with his need for drugs. I can't imagine
how hard it was for him to do that, but he did it."
It took him another four years and five titles later to overcome his addiction,
but his constant eating took a toll on his body and his mental well-being, his
son Otto Burger Jr., AKA Jr. Pac Man, said.
"He put on a lot of weight during that time, he certainly didn't look like the
same person," Burger said. "His job required it, but he never blamed the
industry to making him addicted. I feel a little differently about that, but
he loved his work so much that it never occurred to him what kind of a toll
it was having on his physical well-being."
Man will be buried in a private ceremony on Monday with only family and
friends in attendees. Pallbearers include friends and co-workers Pinky,
Blinky, Inky and Clyde.
(Reported by Danny Gallagher, Graphic by Chris White)
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