Maurice Gibb Dies at 53

Gibb, a member of the Bee Gees, is remembered as outgoing and inspiring

Maurice Gibb, best known for being one-third of the pop band the Bee Gees, died Sunday, January 12, 2003. His family — wife Yvonne, son Adam, and daughter Samantha — were at his bedside at Mount Sinai Medical Center when he passed away. Gibb was reportedly working on new music with his brother Barry Gibb (also of the Bee Gees) and Michael Jackson before his unexpected death.

Bee Gees Brothers in Miami, Florida in 1978
Michael Brennan / Getty Images

Cause of Death

The 53-year old Gibb was rushed to Mount Sinai Medical Center in January of 2003 after experiencing intense abdominal pain. Doctors discovered the pain was due to a twisted section in his small intestine (a condition that is called a volvulus).

Before surgery could be done to correct the problem, Gibb reportedly went into cardiac arrest, which further weakened his condition. After the surgery was done to remove the damaged section of intestine, Gibb was then listed in critical, but stable, condition. However, he passed away at 1 AM the night after doctors completed the surgery to repair the volvulus.


The pop group the Bee Gees, made up of brothers Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb, first became an international sensation in the 1970s. Maurice played keyboard, guitar, bass, and percussion in the Bee Gees. He also sang the high notes in their three-part harmony.

The multi-faceted musician also wrote many of the groups' hit songs. As disco music became less popular in the 1980s, the Bee Gees endured years of being the butt of jokes, but are now regarded as musical pioneers. In fact, the Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Barry Gibb and sister Lesley Gibb are the only remaining siblings of the five Gibb children, and Barry is the last surviving member of the Bee Gees group. Robin Gibb passed away on May 20, 2012.

Younger brother Andy, who had a thriving solo singing career, died in 1988. Their mother, Barbara Gibb, died in 2016. Some of the Bee Gees biggest hits include "How Deep Is Your Love?," "Stayin' Alive," and "You Should Be Dancing."

About Bowel Obstruction

Scar tissue, tumors, hernias, diverticulitis, swallowing a foreign object, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and twisting of the bowel can cause an intestinal obstruction. In most cases, there is no way to prevent the occurrence of a blockage.

A completely obstructed bowel is a cause for emergency surgery because the affected sections of the intestine may die, causing infection, sepsis, or other serious complications.

Patients who are suspected to have an intestinal obstruction are often hospitalized immediately for treatment. The obstruction may be diagnosed through x-rays, a computed tomography scan (CT scan), or an ultrasound. A barium enema may help to locate the position of the obstruction within the bowel.

Once the obstruction is diagnosed and located, a treatment method is determined. Treatment could include a barium enema to dissolve the blockage or the insertion of a rectal tube which will help straighten out any kinks in the bowel. In some cases, surgery will be necessary to relieve the obstruction.

During surgery, the obstruction is removed along with any damaged sections of the bowel. If the cause of the obstruction is discovered to be a hernia, polyp, tumor, or scar tissue, it will also be repaired or removed at this time. Next, the two healthy ends of the bowel are reconnected to restore normal bowel function. With prompt and effective treatment, most patients recover without complications.

Signs of a Bowel Obstruction

  • Abdominal pain and cramping that comes and goes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe constipation
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement
  • Vomiting

A Word From Verywell

Populations most affected by chronic volvulus reside in Africa, the Middle East, India, and Russia. If not treated right away, the condition can be quite serious and result in death.

Unfortunately, once a volvulus has happened, it is more likely to happen again. Sudden, severe abdominal pain, especially when accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting or not being able to move the bowels, could be an emergency.

This is why it is important to get medical attention immediately when these symptoms are present, and especially if a volvulus or an obstruction has happened before. When caught early, obstructions can be treated effectively.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. People. Goodbye to a Bee Gee. Updated January 27, 2003.

  2. CNN. Gibb autopsy cites twisted intestine. Updated January 16, 2003.

  3. International Foundation For Gastrointestinal Disorders. Volvulus. Updated October 02, 2019.

  4. The Guardian. Maurice Gibb, talented but tormented Bee Gee, dies. Updated January 13, 2020.

  5. Bee Gees. Hall of fame induction: the Bee Gees 1997.

  6. CNN. Robin Gibb, member of the Bee Gees, dies after battle with cancer. Updated December 11, 2012.

  7. Biography. Andy Gibb biography. Updated June 25, 2019.

  8. Miami Herald. Bee Gees' mom Barbara Gibb inspired sons to musical greatness. Updated August 15, 2016.

  9. Cleveland Clinic. Large bowel (intestinal) obstruction. Updated May 31, 2017.

  10. Therapeutic enema for intussusception. Updated February 14, 2018.

  11. Encyclopedia of Surgery. Intestinal obstruction repair.

  12. Gingold D, Murrell Z. Management of colonic volvulus. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2012;25(4):236-44. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1329535

  13. Ifversen AK, Kjaer DW. More patients should undergo surgery after sigmoid volvulusWorld J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(48):18384–18389. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i48.18384