Vince Gironda and his wife Madeline moved to Simi Valley in the North Hollywood mountains and began their retirement.
A businessman called and offered to finance a new gym, but Vince told him, “How long am I supposed to serve humanity? Vince Gironda doesn’t want to be behind the desk of the gym anymore. I’m creative. I want to go onto something bigger and better.”
Vince occupied his days watching his favorite films, such as The Tower of London and Richard III, listening to classical music and treating himself to coffee and pastries, as well as operating his mail order business of courses and newsletters from a post office box in town.
He’d suffered a series of mini strokes and one major stroke, which severely affected his short-term memory.
He hid the stroke from people at the time so nobody realized. He played it down like he was only at the hospital a short time, it wasn’t that serious, etc.
But in reality he really couldn’t drive for six months on the freeways as he couldn’t focus.
In the last couple years before his death he could drive all the way to Oxnard from Simi Valley to John Balik’s office, and he could drive around pretty good.
And Madeline had unfortunately been diagnosed with breast cancer for which she was receiving chemotherapy, using up their savings in travel costs and medical bills.
In anticipation of Vince’s 80th birthday, John Balik organized an event to honor him and his life’s work at the prestigious Ritz Colton Hotel in Marina Delray.
But sadly, on October the 18th, 1997, Vince Gironda passed away. After his death, the party was rescheduled, and instead become a memorial tribute where a massive gathering of bodybuilders and those in the movie industry honored the great man.
Vince Gironda’s death has always been a mystery, however Gene Mozee spoke to Madeline immediately after it happened and recounted the events …
The Thursday before Vince’s death he started having breathing trouble, getting an upset stomach and his breathing was kind of shallow.
So he and Madeline called Dr. Ashok, who was a guy he trained, who’s an MD, an emergency room doctor, but he happened to be in Lancaster that day, working out of the emergency hospital.
Dr. Ashok told him to call the paramedics, go into the emergency room and get it checked out.
Madeline claims that Vince didn’t want to have a paramedic truck come to the house, and that he was waiting for his sister-in-law, his previous wife Bobby’s sister, to come and take him to the hospital.
Vince was laying on the couch, she was in the kitchen and they were talking and then she didn’t hear anything for a few minutes, when she dropped a glass in the kitchen and Vince said, “What was that?” to which she replied, “Oh, I just dropped the glass.” and then Vince didn’t say anything else.
About five minutes later, Madeline went in to check on him and he was laying there with his tongue hanging out and he looked like he was gone.
She gave him mouth to mouth and he breathed a couple of times. She called 911 and they started telling her what to do and how to give CPR.
By the time an ambulance got there, he was gone this time. Madeline seemed to think that he choked to death.
Gene wasn’t there when the autopsy was performed, but Vince Gironda died on Saturday and he was cremated on Monday. So, Gene always felt that Vince’s death was really mysterious.