- Special Features
- Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Debi Austin, the star of anti-smoking commercials that began in the 90s, passed away at the age of 62 on Friday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Austin was battling cancer of the larynx for 20 years before she passed away.
She died at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.
Austin was known as the “Voicebox” because of commercials that portrayed her smoking through a hole in her throat the size of a half-dollar coin, The Examiner reports.
She began smoking at 13, and had to go through surgery of her larynx when she was diagnosed with cancer.
Her decision to be a part of the anti-smoking commercials came about when her 4-year-old niece drew a black spot on her neck to resemble her. Austin wanted to be a better role model and became an anti-smoking advocate and educated people on the issue.
The commercial became a part of a great movement against smoking and made her a symbol.
Austin says of herself, "I am the worst-case scenario that your mother told you about. I am the walking dead, the castoff of the tobacco industry that they can't fix, they can't heal."
She stopped smoking eight months after she did the commercial.