Founder of many-a-kid's dream, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney died from lung cancer at the age of 65.
Born in Chicago in 1901, and completing only one year of high school, Walt Disney went on to be awarded 26 Oscars - a record still held today. At the age of 16, Disney joined the Red Cross in France during World War I. He returned home, joining his brother in 1923, to found the Disney Brothers Studio, later to be called the Walt Disney Studio.
From his characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, to his animated film "Snow White," to the children's dreamworlds of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Walt Disney left behind a legacy. He may be less well-remembered for his contributions during the Great Depression and World War II, producing health and education films for the government.
Walt Disney was a long-term smoker, and he was known for his chronic cough that marked his presence in a room. In November of 1966, he was scheduled to have neck surgery for pain in his neck and back, when a preoperative x-ray revealed a large tumor in his left lung. He underwent a left pneumonectomy (removal of the entire left lung) to remove the tumor, as well as subsequent chemotherapy. Just 5 weeks later, Disney passed away at St. Joseph's Hospital near his studio.
Walt Disney left behind a legacy, but also words of wisdom for each of us:
"That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be twelve years old. They patronize; they treat children as inferiors. I won't do that."