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Bill Nye appears fine after collapsing during USC talk

Nye Popular TV personality Bill Nye left USC under his own power after he collapsed onstage Tuesday night in front of hundreds of audience members during a presentation at USC, campus officials said.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics and personnel from USC's public safety office arrived on the scene about 8:40 p.m. and examined Nye.

They concluded that he did not need to be taken to the hospital and he left on his own, said Capt. David Carlisle of the USC Department of Public Safety.

Though attempts to contact Nye were unsuccessful, he posted a Twitter message Wednesday morning that he was participating in a “Global Online Town Hall with Al Gore talking about math and science education in our country.”

Nye, 54, is best known for making science palatable to young audiences through humor and elaborate contraptions on the Emmy Award-winning show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” which ran during the 1990s. The Studio City resident was scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at Bovard Auditorium about his experience on the show and his views on science education.

Tristan Camacho, a USC senior who attended the lecture, said Nye was walking toward the podium when he collapsed mid-sentence.

"Then after about 10 seconds, he popped back up with much gusto and asked everybody how long he was out for and went on with a story about how a similar thing happened to him that morning," Camacho said.

Nye appeared determined to finish his presentation but began slurring his words and stumbled against his laptop, Camacho said.

At first, Nye refused the offer of a chair and continued taking sips from a water bottle. Camacho said Nye was eventually removed from the stage.


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Photo: Bill Nye last month. Credit: Tim Sloan / AFP / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (9)

Thank you for an unbiased account of the incident. I was one of the lucky students who got to see Bill that night and almost cried when I saw that insulting Yahoo article. We all grew up on Bill and we know how he rolls. He's extremely animated and very comical, and the first time he collapsed we could not be completely sure if it wasn't part of the act. It happened at a comically apropos moment, when he was talking oxygen levels in the air and gooing around on top of a roof. The hang time came from people trying to make sense of the situation, wavering between "oh, it's part of the act" and "wait, he's too old to be falling down like that anymore". People whipped out their phones so they could ask their friends about it. It was even more confusing afterwards because he tried to play it off as a joke to save face, but when he collapsed the second time, the staff provided aid immediately.
The witness and the writer have done a huge disservice to his fans that night. I didn't see a single person exiting who wasn't shocked and concerned for him.

Bill I feel sick too, my nose is running.....it won't stop running and I feel run down.


"Alastair Fairbanks, a USC senior in attendance for Nye's presentation, told the Los Angeles Times that "nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed — that just perplexed me beyond reason." The student added, 'Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.'"

Why is the Los Angeles Times trying to cover up USC's epic fail?

That's the description of an eschemic attack - a mini-stroke, dropping to the floor, slurred speech, loss of balance, etc. usually the result of circulating blood clots. sip of water isn't going to cure that. For a 'science guy' he should have taken up the paramedic's offer of hospitalization since he had the same thing earlier in the morning that same day. Good thing he's only an actor who pretends to do science on TV and not real science as he could get someone killed other than himself.

What insulting Yahoo article? Among other things, Yahoo is a news aggregator, like Google. It is not a news source. I can understand you being upset that the article you read misreported what you experienced, but do not blame Yahoo for it.

@Blithe: because Alastair was wrong; everyone was using their phones to call campus security.

I agree with USC '14. This was no epic fail on USC or the students' fault, just an unfortunate situation with a famous speaker. Most of the students were already on Facebook and Twitter before Bill Nye fainted, so the fact they commented online about it before help arrived is not so insane. When he went down, it was a surreal moment in which no one realized what was going on. Also the auditorium being jam-packed with students lent to a lag time in getting help to him. The love that literally poured out to him after he got up was a testament that his fans did care about his health, not their Tweets.

To those who are criticizing the audience and USC's response:

I was sitting in the audience and the reason why the news outlets are reporting that people didn't immediately respond is because Bill was down for about 10 seconds and the entire audience initially thought it was part of his comical presentation. He got back up on his own and insisted on continuing the final fourth of his presentation. As soon as it was determined that he was seriously in danger, he was offered assistance. At the end, he was taken backstage and immediately offered food and given professional medical attention. USC and all of the students and staff in attendance did the best job they could have done given the unexpectedness of the incident and Bill's desire to fight on and finish the speech. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Trojan family when I say that we are incredibly supportive of Bill and are deeply concerned about his health. 

Please take the time to understand the situation before accusing the university or its students of inaction.


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