This week I learnt of the death of Jack Chapman, a young man I first met around 2008.
Jack always made me feel happy. He was someone I saw from time to time at the Laird Hotel, and around bear and gay events.
I wasn’t especially close as a friend, but Jack was there for a chat on the odd occasion, sometimes for a project of his, or for his fundraising for the Victorian AIDS Council.
In this audio clip (extracted from episode 21 of the Cubby House podcast, recorded on September 28 2009) Jack tops and tails the reading Sandra Schneiderman and I performed of Wayne Hoffman’s “A place at the table”:
After some years we kinda lost touch, more because I wasn’t hanging around the Laird as much, and because he wasn’t around either. One day I found out he was actually living overseas, and that he was in a relationship with a guy there. We saw each other at the Laird somewhere around this time (it’s blurry, I don’t recall if he came back or it was before he went away), and that was the last time I saw Jack.
On Wednesday this week (October 17) I was driving back from Bairnsdale to Mallacoota, parked in Lakes Entrance for a break, and Gregory (my husband) forwarded me a message he’d seen on Facebook:
The message was to a photo on a mutual friend’s page. The caption read:
I am saddened and shocked of the news of the passing of jack/tank. R.I.P big fella
I didn’t know Jack was now using the name Tank (or that he had changed his last name).
It turns out his death on October 15 was connected to a lung condition. Dead at 28.
Jack was one of the sweetest guys that had come into my life, and now he’s gone. He did a lot for the community here in Melbourne. I’ll miss him for sure.
Here’s a gallery of a few pics I took of him, or were taken of us, between 2008 and 2012.
POSTSCRIPT (October 20)
Three redacted copies of Jack’s death certificate have surfaced (here, here and here). It points to “Silicon Injection Syndrome” as a cause of death. I was not previously aware of this syndrome, so looked it up and found this 2006 article published by the Radiological Society of North America:
Liquid silicone, which is often used for breast augmentation and other cosmetic procedures, can cause respiratory failure if not injected properly by a licensed physician. A study of individuals who underwent illegal silicone injections revealed a high fatality rate from pulmonary silicone embolism, or obstruction of the lungs. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
There clearly needs to be greater education around the dangers of silicone injections for cosmetic enhancement, particular if death is a likely outcome from incorrect administration.