Swamped by sadness

Even his late comeback couldn’t save Ernest Hemingway from the depression that cursed his life.

During the last decade of his life, his naturally dark mood deepened even further by a series of health crises. He survived two separate airplane crashes, each time emerging with severe internal injuries.

He was seriously burned in a bushfire accident, developed high blood pressure and liver problems related to his alcoholism, and underwent electroshock therapy that wiped out much of his memory.

In his final days, he was kept under near-constant sedation to prevent him from taking his own life. His father, Clarence, had committed suicide. As did his sister Ursula and his brother Leicester.

His wife, Mary, went so far as to lock up his guns in the basement of their home in Ketchum, Idaho. A despondent Hemingway found the keys. He always did.

On the morning of July 2, 1961, he put both barrels of a shotgun to his forehead and pulled the trigger.

And succeeded in destroying himself at last.

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