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Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson's daughter takes own life

01/06/2007 at 12:10 PM ET

Tragedy has struck songwriter Burt Bacharach, 78, and his ex-wife, actress Angie Dickinson, 75, as their only daughter Nikki Bacharach, 40, has committed suicide.  A spokeswoman for the former couple said that, "She quietly and peacefully committed suicide to escape the ravages to her brain brought on by Asperger’s," at her home in Thousand Oaks on Thursday night. The coroner reports that she died of suffocation brought on by a plastic bag and helium. Nikki was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, after her premature birth in 1966. Her father has documented her suffering in his song "Nikki".

Asperger Syndrome is associated with lack of social interaction, presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests, peculiarities in speech and language, extensive logical patterns of thought, inappropriate social and emotional behavior, also impairment in areas of functioning as in clumsy and uncoordinated movements. Asperger is a form of autism, a neurological disease that can be treated and kept under control through various therapies, as well as medications. Children born with Asperger have a normal lifespan but they may suffer also from depression, mood disorders and OCD. More about Asperger Syndrome can be read here.

Source: Yahoo! News and ET

Thanks to CBB readers Lisa, Nicole, Marcia and Crystal.


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Showing 19 comments

Molly on

My oldest son also has Aspergers.
My thoughts are with the family.

Jennifer B on

That’s so sad. I am a mother to an high-functioning autisic child. It so hard for people with autism to understand the world they live in. My condolence to the family.

Penny Lane on

This is so sad. My heart goes out to this family.

Karen on

You would never be diagnosed with a condition such as Aspergers shortly after birth!

Akita on

my younger brother has Aspergers

What a tragedy :(

Katie on

I commend the mothers who left comments above for having such empathy for others even though they, themselves, have difficult situations.

Autumbn on

Aw that’s so sad! :’( I knew she had disabilities but I didn’t know exactly what. The death of their daughter can’t be easy for Burt and Angie, even if they haven’t been together in years. I can imagine a parent out living their own child, no matter how old the “child” is, has to be a difficult experience fo anyone. It’s truly now that loss of what might’ve been.

stacey on

My 9 year old son has autism but is extremely high functioning as well. I thank God everyday for him. He is a beautiful and gentle boy. Our relatives still dont fully grasp his diagnosis and at times we feel isolated and misunderstood. My condolences to the family of Nikki. May she now fly with the angels and be in enternal peace. For she deserves it.

tink1217 on

my son is also higher functioning autistic, I feel for the family so much! I can’t imagine losing a child, even if they are a grown adult. My heart goes out to them.

Heavenly_hibiscus on

That’s sad :-(

Melissa on

My thoughts and prayers are with each of the parents! What a tragedy it is too lose a child before her time. I am truly sorry for their loss.

Maya on

Both my brother and fiancee have Asperger’s, so I can understand how frustrating it can be for a family member, though of course I can only imagine how difficult it is for those with it. My heart goes out to the family.

And, Karen is right: a child can not be diagnosed with Asperger’s shortly after birth. I think my brother first started showing signs around 18 months, when he wasn’t talking and interacting like other children his age. My fiancee wasn’t actually diagnosed till a few months ago, but started showing signs around kindergarten. However, to be fair, the article just says “after her premature birth”, and not “shortly after.” I don’t think being premature actually has anything to do with Asperger’s though.

Karen on

Thanks Maya. The post originally said ‘shortly after birth’ it has been updated since I first commented earlier today.

Kim on

My fiancee has Aspbergers and was diagnosed at age 16 after being told for years he was ADD and given meds for it. His mum knew there was something from toddlerhood and dragged him round til somebody diagnosed him with whatever it was. I did not know he had AS until he told me though and then you can pick up on idiosyncracies. He maintains a job and we are about to get married and we have a 4 month old son so AS can have a good life. I also don’t think Aspbergers was much, if at all, diagnosed until the last 20 years? Will have to Google that.

Sentinel69 on

My son of 17 years is autistic ,adhd and ODD and is often very depressed .Even though it’s hard sometimes…..he is so special and unique.
And one year ago an asperger i knew from a board did commit suicide…. and now when I read this ….. horrible ,but I do understand that life is sometimes frustating on them.
I am truly sorry for their loss :-(

DivaMommy on

My son has Asperger’s…it is not a neurological “disease,” but rather a neurological condition (“disease” implies that you can catch it or come down with it…not true!). Please change your wording in the post to reflect this…thanks.

And this is such a sad story…many who live with autism/Asperger’s lead very fulfilling, productive lives…it is not a death sentence! Quite the opposite…many believe that some very creative, intelligent people in the past (Einstein, etc.) probably had Asperger’s. Asperger’s brains just work in a different way…if you want to see a great movie depicting people with Asperger’s, check out Mozart and the Whale with Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell.

Brenna on

This makes me so sad. My younger cousin has Aspergers Syndrom and I worry about his future. He is a great teenager and really sweet but I know he will have trouble socially. I hope that all of you with children with Autism and Aspergers know that I think these children are so special. We need to bring more awareness to this disorders because they are becoming quite common. I watched a boy with Autism and he was the best kid to watch despite his tantrums and lack of certain social skills.

Sandi on

I have a 14 yr old son with Aspergers and my spouse shares the disorder as well.
I never knew these celebrities had a daughter with this.
My son is an incredible 14 yr old, handsome, funny and with a gentle demeanor.
He does great in school and has really started to bloom socially in high school.
He takes great care of his 3 yr old little brother – who does not exhibit any signs of Aspergers.
It can be more frustrating for an adult, I think (as it is with my husband, undiagnosed until our son was) but when you involve counseling, school and family in raising these special kids – I feel it gives the best results for a positive future.
Some may think it is harder than raising a neuro-typical child, but not really.
You adjust and well, it’s just ‘different’.
I’m sure the family did their best – how painful for them all.
My heart goes out to them.

Nancy Carson on

My prayers are with Burt and Angie, there’s nothing worse than losing a child. Unfortunately
I lost my son in 2007 also. Someone else besides our father up above decided to end his life.

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