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Bill Nye of 'The Science Guy' fame collapses during speech at USC [Updated]

Popular TV personality Bill Nye 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 USC's department of public safety responded to the scene about 8:40 p.m., but it was unclear if Nye was treated or required transport. There was no information available on his condition late Tuesday.

Some accounts posted on Twitter said Nye fainted more than once and demonstrated slurred speech.

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” that 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.

[Updated at 10:52 p.m.: 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."

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.

"Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed -- that just perplexed me beyond reason," USC senior Alastair Fairbanks said. "Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening."]


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Comments () | Archives (49)

If that report is true that students were more preocupied to text their buddies about the incident than offer a hand of help. My goodness, how far have we digress as a society. speechless

This information is exaggerated. Bill was already standing at the podium when he first collapsed. About a minute before he had sipped some water, then amidst an explanation about bees he fell from behind the podium and was up within seconds asking how long he had been out. He did not say he had the same experience in the morning. He did say, however, that he had gotten up at about 1:30 and had very little to eat or drink all day. He continued his presentation for about a minute or two before collapsing again. He was very apologetic, but he trekked on and finished the presentation. He was obviously very disappointed, but he had the full support of the audience.

I was there. Regarding the point of nobody helping him at first, it wasn't immediately clear that it wasn't part of the act.

Bill mentioned after he fainted the first time that his lack of sleep must have caused his collapse. We hope he gets better and it was a real treat to see him.

The reason as to why nobody went up to help him the first time is because everyone thought it was part of his act. Nobody had any idea that he had fainted. Everyone was just dumbfounded by what had happened and thought it was an odd twist to his show.

The second time around, when people did realize what was going on, those who planned the event rushed to the stage to help him. Food was brought backstage and his manager, agent, and local emergency medical services were immediately contacted.

This nonsense about nobody doing anything is absurd. And the commentary by others on social networking sites accusing staff and event planners of not acting is absolutely baseless. Staff were backstage to monitor and assist in his recuperation from the second he stepped behind the curtains.

Just clarifying.

Having been there, the reason why I didn't get up to help, personally, was that it took a while to realize that this wasn't just part of his presentation, that he wasn't trying to make some kind of a point. By the time it was becoming clear that this wasn't the case, he was getting back to his feet. At least the people around me did not seem to be texting and updating Twitter, there was more just murmuring and concern as no one knew quite how to react.

Bill Nye is a hero of mine. I pray he is okay.

"Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed -- that just perplexed me beyond reason," USC senior Alastair Fairbanks said. "Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening."
Sadly, not surprising at all.

Our society is failing miserably....

slurring words... Sounds like a stroke to me.

Bill Nye's lecture was so good though. And it was inspirational to me the way he kept on going. Like, he was so passionate about delivering his message. I hope I can have that kind of passion.

I called the police department at 8:41 PM.

About 6-8 minutes after he collapsed a 2nd time, I began to wonder if Bill was perhaps having a stroke. The audience was very concerned, and downright shocked at the lack of assistance he was receiving from the stage crew. I quietly slipped out of the top balcony, and dialed for the police department at 8:41 PM.

I am surprised to now learn that nobody "official" called any earlier. I was aware of the Bystander Effect, and that since so many people were present, everyone was probably assuming that someone else had taken action. I was just some dude in the balcony, so I of course thought that the situation was well taken care of!

Not so, it seems. I don't care if he just had a fainting spell or if it was something more serious, it was sad to witness the initial lack of response.

When he first collapsed he was talking about gravity, and the audience believed it was part of his act. The instant he began wavering and fainted a second time he was instantly aided and given a chair and a water bottle. When asked to meet with paramedics he insisted on completing his speech. Upon completing his speech, he once more insisted on continuing with Q&A but was swayed by the staff at the auditorium to meet with paramedics. They determined that he was not fit to continue.

Alastair Fairbanks assessment is elitist and incorrect. The people in attendance and the people working responded appropriately and handled the situation

I was also present and Bill Nye never told any story about a similar thing previously happening. In fact, he specifically said that was the first time something like that ever happened to him. He also did not get "back up with much gusto". Actually, he passed out again just a few minutes later.


So, did anyone ask Fairbanks why he didn't assist Nye?

Bill Nye is a hero of mine. I pray he is okay.

Sounds like a stroke or diabetic problem. GET WELL BILL! but quit ignoring your body when it is shouting at you. And quit driving until you figure out what the problem is.

It looks like he may have experienced a stroke.

I have high regard for Bill Nye and hope everything goes well for him.

That's what America has come to, it is more important to update twitter and facebook about something than to actually get in there and help... truly sad

No one went to his aid? What's wrong with you people out there in California? Are your minds numb to compassion?

The prevalence of texting and tweeting during events perplexes me. In line at the Universal Studios Horror Night event, faces of tween, teens and young folks broke the darkness with the light reflected from their cell screens.

Now this man, who was so present during their childhood collapses and their first instinct was to tweet or text. We're turning into a nation of voyeurs and witnesses.

Descartes would have to say, today, "I tweet, therefore I am."

"Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses."

This is why I hate my generation.

Out of HUNDREDS of audience members, how did not one single person get up to help him when he collapsed mid-sentence??? ESPECIALLY Mr. Fairbanks who said the lack of aid "perplexed him beyond reason", when he undoubtedly did nothing either. ABSURD. way to show a lack of humanity.

Nye should have had someone take him to a doctor immediately, instead of finishing the lecture, when he could have returned another day in better health, especially since he revealed he'd also collapsed earlier that day! But people having strokes don't know exactly what they're doing.

The ramifications of the comment from the USC student in the update portion is alarmingly frightening. You think society is self-absorbed and oblivious, welcome to the future!

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