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Please add profiles of those who died from Nephritis.

If the cause of death was Bright’s disease, please add them to: Bright’s / Kidney Disease/Failure project.

Nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys and may involve the glomeruli, tubules, or interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules. Acute nephritis has several causes, and it can ultimately lead to kidney failure if it’s left untreated. This condition used to be known as Bright's disease.

Nephritis is often described as acute or chronic. The acute form develops suddenly, sometimes after a throat or skin infection. These infections may need treatment such as antibiotics. Chronic nephritis develops silently over several years and can lead to kidney failure.

Types & Causes:

  • Glomerulonephritis (Brights Disease) is inflammation of the glomeruli. Glomerulonephritis is often implied when using the term "nephritis" without qualification. Glomeruli are the tiny clusters of capillaries that transport blood and behave as filtering units. Damaged and inflamed glomeruli may not filter the blood properly.
    • The main cause of this type of kidney infection is unknown, but is most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs like kidneys.
      • Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a disease of the immune system.
    • Athletic nephritis is nephritis resulting from strenuous exercise. Bloody urine after strenuous exercise may also result from march hemoglobinuria, which is caused by trauma to red blood cells, causing their rupture, which leads to the release of hemoglobin into the urine.
    • Other causes can include a history of cancer or an abscess that breaks and travels to the kidney through the blood stream.
  • Interstitial nephritis (or tubulo-interstitial nephritis) is inflammation of the spaces between renal tubules, causing the kidneys to swell.
    • This type often results from an allergic reaction to a medication or antibiotic. An allergic reaction is the body’s immediate response to a foreign substance.
    • Low potassium in your blood is another cause of interstitial nephritis. Potassium helps regulate many functions in the body, including heartbeat and metabolism.
  • Pyelonephritis is inflammation that results from a urinary tract infection usually starting in the bladder, then migrates up the ureters and reaches the renal pelvis of the kidney. The ureters transport urine from each kidney to the bladder.
    • The majority of pyelonephritis cases results from E.coli bacterial infections. This type of bacterium is primarily found in the large intestine and is excreted in your stool. The bacteria can travel up from the urethra to the bladder and kidneys, resulting in pyelonephritis.
    • Although bacterial infection is the leading cause of pyelonephritis, other possible causes include:
      • urinary examinations that use a cystoscope, an instrument that looks inside the bladder
      • surgery of the bladder, kidneys, or ureters
      • the formation of kidney stones, rocklike formations consisting of minerals and other waste material


Usually not severe in the early stages. However, to protect the kidneys from permanent damage, it's important to seek medical attention if these symptoms are present:

  • Changes in urinating habits
  • Swelling anywhere in the body, especially the hands, feet, ankles, and face
  • Changes in urine color
  • Foamy urine
  • Blood in the urine

Treatment & Prevention:

The treatment for nephritis depends on whether the disease is acute, chronic, or linked to other diseases, such as lupus.

Acute episodes of nephritis often respond well to treatment. Sometimes, years after an acute episode, individuals develop chronic glomerulonephritis. Although these diseases may not always be curable, proper treatment can keep the disease at bay and protect the kidneys.

  • Acute nephritis sometimes goes away on its own. It usually requires treatment with medication and special procedures (dialysis) to remove excess fluids and dangerous proteins.
  • Treating chronic nephritis typically involves regular check-ups on the kidneys and monitoring blood pressure. Doctors may prescribe water pills to both control blood pressure and reduce any swelling patients have.
  • Medications that keep the immune system from attacking the kidneys are helpful in some cases. Doctors may also recommend dietary changes, such as cutting back on protein, salt, and potassium.


  • Nephritis represents the ninth most common cause of death among all women in the US (and the fifth leading cause among non-Hispanic black women).
  • Worldwide the highest rates of nephritis are 50-55% for African or Asian descent, then Hispanic at 43% and Caucasian at 17%.
  • The average age of this inflammation(lupus nephritis in this case) is about 28.4 years old for an individual who has been so diagnosed with the condition.
  • Number of deaths from nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 49,959
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 15.5
  • Cause of death rank: 9
  • The overall prevalence of CKD in the general population is approximately 14 percent.
  • High blood pressure and diabetes are the main causes of CKD. Almost half of individuals with CKD also have diabetes and/or self-reported cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • More than 661,000 Americans have kidney failure. Of these, 468,000 individuals are on dialysis, and roughly 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.
  • Kidney disease often has no symptoms in its early stages and can go undetected until it is very advanced. (For this reason, kidney disease is often referred to as a “silent disease.”)
  • The adjusted incidence rate of ESRD in the United States rose sharply in the 1980s and 1990s, leveled off in the early 2000s, and has declined slightly since its peak in 2006.
  • Compared to Caucasians, ESRD prevalence is about 3.7 times greater in African Americans, 1.4 times greater in Native Americans, and 1.5 times greater in Asian Americans.
  • Each year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer. In 2013, more than 47,000 Americans died from kidney disease.1
  • The overall prevalence of CKD increased from 12 percent to 14 percent between 1988 and 1994 and from 1999 to 2004 but has remained relatively stable since 2004. The largest increase occurred in people with Stage 3 CKD, from 4.5 percent to 6.0 percent, since 1988.
  • Women (15.93 percent) are more likely to have stages 1 to 4 CKD than men (13.52 percent).

Notables who died of Nephritis:

  1. Ranker - Famous People Who Died of Nephritis (26 listed)
  2. University Kidney Research Organization - Celebrities and Athletes with Kidney Disease
  • Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) - “Father of modern genetics”; developed Bright’s disease (now called nephritis) in addition to heart trouble and blindness; eventually died of kidney & heart failure.
  • Barbara La Marr (1896-1926) - American actress, cabaret artist, screenwriter; developed nephritis & tuberculosis
  • Alexander III of Russia (1845-1894) - Emperor of Russia, King of Poland; became ill with nephritis, possibly related to acute kidney trauma in 1888 when the roof of a dining car collapsed in an assassination attempt
  • Madison Grant (1865-1937) - Lawyer; died of kidney inflammation
  • Ted Healy (1896-1937) - Vaudeville actor & Ccomedian; died of toxic nephritis & acute alcoholism per autopsy
  • Umm Kulthum (1898-1975) - Major kidney infection in 1972 & more kidney infections afterwards, died of heart failure
  • Albert J Myer (1828-1880) - American officer, surgeon, & father of the US Weather Bureau & the US Army Signal Corps; inventor of aerial telegraphy; died of nephritis
  • Joseph Barnes (1817-1883) - American physician, general surgeon to the US Army; developed nephritis
  • Seymour B Young (1837-1924) - Nephew of Latter Day Saint Apostle Brigham Young & was general authority for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; died of nephritis
  • Cecil Chesterton (1879-1918) - English journalist & political commentator, Editor of The New Witness 1912-1916; became sick with nephritis after fighting in WWI
  • Richard Meagher (1866-1931) - Australian solicitor, first Lord Mayor of Sydney, Australia 1916-1917; died of nephritis
  • Albert Jacka (1893-1932) - Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross--1st in WWI to receive this; didn’t recover from multiple injuries; died from chronic nephritis
  • Louis Cyr (1863-1912) - French Canadian strongman; developed Bright’s Disease (now nephritis)
  • Jacob Fidelis Ackerman (1765-1815) - German professor of surgery & anatomy; became ill with nephritis
  • Sydney Kirkby (1879-1935) - Bishop of the Church of England in Australia & Tasmania; developed & died from chronic nephritis
  • Sam Paul (1874-1927) - American gambler & underworld figure in New York City; Fell sick & died 3 weeks later of nephritis
  • Edward Millen (1860-1923) - Australian journalist & politician; died of chronic nephritis
  • Commodore Nutt (1814-1881) - Midget entertainer at the American Museum in NYC under PT Barnum; had severe attack of Bright’s disease & died two months later
  • John Storey (1869-1921) - Australian politician; had nephritis attacks, but continued regular workload & died suddenly
  • Clarissa S Williams (1859-1930) - 6th general president of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; died of nephritis
  • Alexander McDonnell ( 1798-1835) - Irish chess master in the 19th century; had Bright’s disease which worsened & was unable to finish the 1835 match.
  • Martin Van Buren Bates (1837-1919) - Giant (7 ft, 9 in); Fought in Confederate Army during the Civil War (aka: “Kentucky Giant”) & joined the circus in Cincinnati after the war; died of nephritis
  • Robert Prendergast (1864-1946) - Royal British Naval officer; developed bladder infection & died shortly afterward; official death being uremia & nephritis
  • Ellen Axson Wilson (1860-1914) - President Woodrow Wilson’s first wife; died from Bright’s disease; (Who2 Biographies - Ellen Axson Wilson Biography
  • Jean Harlow (aka: Harlean Carpenter) (1911-1937) -actress; died of uremic poisoning brought on by acute nephritis; ( - Celebrities Who Died Before Their Time updated 15 Sep 2016

Resources & Additional Reading:

Jump back to Cause of death portal. (Project found under headings: Organ failure & Renal Failure.)