British TV host Dr. Michael Mosley reached millions by being his own guinea pig (2024)

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Greek police say there is no sign of foul play in the death of British television host Dr. Michael Mosley

  • By BRIAN MELLEY and PETROS GIANNAKOURIS - Associated Press

RHODES, Greece (AP) — Dr. Michael Mosley was his own guinea pig.

In the name of science, the British television host put his body to the test by ingesting tape worms, injecting snake venom and letting leeches suck his blood.

What didn't kill him made him more popular and he reached millions through BBC programs like “Trust Me, I'm a Doctor," other appearances on TV and radio, and through bestselling diet books.

In the end, his death came during a hike in the blazing sun on the Greek island where was vacationing.

Greek police said Monday there was no sign of foul play, though an autopsy was underway to find the cause.

Here are some things to know about Mosley:

He was steps away from reaching a beach

Mosley, 67, was found dead Sunday, four days after he went missing on the island of Symi.

His wife said he took the wrong route on what was supposed to be a short walk to the next town and appeared to have collapsed.

The path would have taken him over or alongside a steep unforgiving slope littered with rocks and no shelter from heat that hit 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).

His body was found within a few dozen steps of the water.

“He almost managed to reach his destination," Lefteris Papakalodoukas, the mayor of Symi told Greek Alpha television. "It was only another 10 meters (33 feet) to the beach. But that must be when his strength left him.”

Dr. Clare Bailey Mosley said her family took comfort knowing her husband almost made it to safety.

“He did an incredible climb, took the wrong route and collapsed where he couldn’t be easily seen by the extensive search team,” she said in a statement.

The banker who became a doctor who didn't practice medicine

After graduating from Oxford University, Mosley became an investment banker before going back to school to become a doctor. After qualifying for a career in medicine, though, he took another dramatic career change. He trained as an assistant producer at the BBC and that eventually led to a profession in front of the camera.

Mosley was widely admired for his ability to communicate complex science clearly and his willingness to be the subject of experiments that made others shudder.

In a BBC program called “Infested! Living with parasites,” he swallowed tapeworm cysts. He used a “pill camera” to explore his insides and was watching on an iPad in an Indian restaurant when he first saw the tapeworms attached to his intestine.

“I shouted out: ‘Blimey! There’s a tapeworm in me!’ The other diners looked very surprised," he said. “I was delighted, but at the same time, it was rather horrible."

When he was diagnosed with stage 2 diabetes in 2012, Mosley turned to health science and developed a diet that beat the diagnosis and became the basis for one of his books.

He later popularized intermittent fasting and low-carb meals through his 2013 book “The Fast Diet,” which he co-authored with journalist Mimi Spencer, that proposed the so-called “5:2 diet” to minimize calories two days a week while eating healthily the other five.

His “Just One Thing” radio series launched in 2021 advocated simple changes that could transform health and wellbeing.

“I remember him as a bright spark who although now sadly extinguished, will live on through his influential ‘Just One Thing,’" said Mark Miodownik, a materials science professor at University College London, who had worked with Mosley. “Science has lost one of its best and most influential communicators. His warmth and connection to the audience was remarkable."

Tireless search from the air, ground and water

The search for Mosley began when he didn't return after leaving his wife and friends and going for a walk from Agios Nikolaos beach near where he was staying.

Searchers on foot, divers in the water, helicopters and drones from above and parties combing the shore from boats spent four days looking for Mosley.

CCTV footage that was believed to be the last known sighting him had shown him walking through a village with a black umbrella overhead to protect himself from the sun.

But footage released Monday appeared to show him scrambling down a rock slope next to a fence and falling out of view where his body was later found.

On Sunday, a boat with the mayor and a group of journalists was scanning the rugged slope when a cameraman saw something dark among the rocks.

The mayor took a photo of the camera display and zoomed in.

“It has a good resolution,“ he said. “It was the missing man.”

Ilias Tsavaris, a bar manager at the Agia Marina, said he scrambled up the hillside after getting a call from the boat telling him to confirm the sighting.

“When I walked up I saw something like a body,” he said. “You don’t see a dead body everyday, it is not a warzone, it’s summer, you are supposed to have fun and swimming.”

Clare Bailey Mosley thanked the people of Symi for their tireless search for a man they didn't know.

“Some of these people on the island, who hadn’t even heard of Michael, worked from dawn till dusk unasked,” she said.

Melley reported from London. Associated Press writer Costas Kantouris contributed from Thessaloniki, Greece.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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British TV host Dr. Michael Mosley reached millions by being his own guinea pig (2024)
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