WHEN you're in the middle of belly-aching, stitch-inducing, hysterical laughter, it can make your cheeks and tummy hurt despite the euphoria.
You might even choke out between hoots: "I'm dying of laughter!"
Little did you know, some people have come to an unhappy end just from giggling.
That's not to say the same fate will befall whenever you fall into a fit of mirth.
But a case of the cackles – though supposedly good for your health – can also result in aneurysms or suffocation.
Here are eight bizarre cases of people who have literally laughed themselves to death.
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1. Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell laughed his last in 1975 after spending a good half an hour chortling at an episode of the comedy show The Goodies.
He suffered heart failure after watching the Ecky Thump episode, and his death was widely reported at the time.
His wife Nessie even wrote to the show's stars to thank them for making his final 30 minutes so enjoyable, the BBC reported.
But when his granddaughter Lisa Corke suffered a near fatal cardiac arrest in 2012, doctors reckoned Alex's death my have been caused by a rare hereditary heart condition called Long QT syndrome (LQTS).
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According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it's an abnormal feature of the heart’s electrical system that can lead to a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia called torsades de pointes, which may result in fainting or sudden cardiac death.
2. Damnoen Saen-Um
An ice cream truck driver in northern Thailand, Damnoen Saen-Um, 52, apparently laughed himself to death in his sleep in 2003.
His wife reported that he began mumbling in his sleep and then laughing. Luan, 51, tried waking her husband to no avail and then he stopped breathing, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Doctors who signed off his death certificate said Damnoen probably died of heart failure.
3. Ole Bentzen
In 1989, Dr Ole Bentzen, a 56-year-old Danish audiologist who was reportedly in good health, laughed himself to death while watching the film A Fish Called Wanda, according to Vanity Fair.
The film includes a scene where actor Michael Palin has French fries stuffed up his nose.
Dr Bentzen found this scene so amusing that his heart rate surged, ultimately resulting in a fatal cardiac arrest.
4. Manghesh Bhogal
Mangesh Bhogal, 22, died in Mumbai in 2013 after watching a comedy called Grand Masti with his girlfriend.
He laughed so hard hard during the screening of the movie that he suffered a heart attack, DNA India reported.
5. Mrs Fitzherbert
In April 1782, Mrs Fitzherbert went to see The Beggar’s Opera on Drury Lane, in London.
The play starred a popular actor named Charles Bannister, whoappeared onstage in drag, portraying a character named Polly Peachum.
The entire audience found this uproariously funny, including Mrs Fitzherbert, History Collection said, who had to leave before the play's second act as she couldn't compose herself.
The Gentleman’s Magazine reported at the time: “Not being able to banish the figure from her memory, she was thrown into hysterics, which continued without intermission until she expired on Friday morning.”
6. Pietro Aretino
Pietro Aretino (1492 – 1556) was an Italian writer, satirist, poet, playwright, and blackmailer.
He is also credited as the creator of literary pornography.
It seems it was his dirty sense of humour that ultimately killed him, as he apparently laughed so hard at a naughty joke his sister told that he fell backwards off his chair and died.
Some tellings of his death say his crazy fit of laughter was the cause, while other say Pietro suffocated due to not being able to breath between giggles.
7. Wesley Parsons
Wesley Parsons was a farmer in a sleepy farming community in Indiana where not much happened, according to History Collection.
In 1893, he was told a joke he found so funny that he was struck by a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
A newspaper from the time wrote: “Wesley Parsons, an aged and well-known farmer died at Laurel, Ind., under peculiar circumstances. While joking with friends he was seized with a spell of laughing, being unable to stop.
"He laughed for nearly an hour, when he began hiccoughing, and two hours later he died from exhaustion.”
Sadly, the paper didn't report the joke that had Wesley in hysterics.
Zeuxis was an ancient Greek painter, considered by his contemporaries in the 5th century before Christ.
He came to an untimely end when a wealthy elderly widow hired him to do painting of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sex and beauty.
But the widow wanted Zeuxis to model the goddess after he own likeness and posed for the painting. The irony of this was said to have sent the painter into a fit of uncontrollable laughter that finished him off.
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