Sean Connery: Star died from ‘respiratory failure’ due to pneumonia – condition explained

Sean Connery, who died at 90, hit international fame for his role as James Bond in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. His most notorious bond films include Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Diamonds Are Forever, and Goldfinger.

Losing the actor was a shock for those around him despite them knowing that the star’s health had deteriorated. He died while sleeping at his home in the Bahamas in October 2020, according to his widow Micheline Roquebrune.

Connery’s son, Jason, told the BBC around his time of death: “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.”

Initially, the cause of death wasn’t announced but a death certificate obtained by the publication TMZ revealed some additional details.

It showed he died from respiratory failure caused by pneumonia, old age, and atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat, which has been found to increase the risk of lung issues).

Roquebrune, Connery’s widow, also later shared with the Mail on Sunday in November 2020 how the actor had also been suffering from Dementia, which she said: “took its toll on him”.

She said: “It was no life for him.

“He had dementia and it took its toll on him. He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.”

READ MORE: Peter Kay: Comic’s ‘first hand experience’ of ‘complex’ disease – condition explained

Sean Connery’s son described the day of his death as “’a sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

What happens during pneumonia?

Pneumonia is when the air pockets in the lungs, known as alveoli, become inflamed because of an infection. This infection could be a virus, fungi, or bacteria.

The pockets become filled with fluid or puss and when this happens symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing are likely to ensue.


Respiratory failure, including pneumonia, is a common killer in the UK. Between 2020 and 2021, pneumonia deaths reached 19,642, according to the Office for National Statistics.

And even before the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been known to cause cases of pneumonia, the numbers were still high. In 2018 there were 29,516 deaths due to flu and pneumonia.

The condition is likely to be more serious among infants, young children, and people over the age of 65, according to Mayo Clinic.

The symptoms of pneumonia, according to the NHS, include:

  • Chest pain when you breathe or cough
  • Confusion or changes in mental awareness
  • Coughing – may be phlegmy
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Lower body temperature
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath.

The condition can become a medical emergency, requiring immediate medical attention.

You should call 999 if think you are struggling with heart attack symptoms.

  • Struggling to breathe
  • Coughing up blood
  • Developed blue lips or a blue face
  • Feel cold or sweaty
  • Developed a rash that doesn’t fade if you roll a glass over it
  • Collapse or faint
  • Become confused or very drowsy
  • Have stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual.

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