Tosyn Bucknor’s sudden death: Perspective of a medical doctor with sickle cell anaemia. 

Tosyn Bucknor
By Dr Olusola Jumoke Daramola


She was gorgeous,

the one with a voice,

that ripples the world louder; even at death.

The undying tone

that pitches even higher after she was,

truly a star – a living legacy.

The unexpected happened, Tosyn was found unresponsive by her husband when he returned from work. She was confirmed dead on arrival at the hospital.  This shocking news threw many fans into mourning and confusion – “it can’t be true”.

Many took to social media, expressing their pain and grief.  People spoke about her great works and beautiful personality. Concerns were also raised about the cause of her sudden death.  It was later revealed that she died of complicationsfrom sickle cell which generated further arguments and apanic in those affected by sickle cell anaemia. In my opinion,the stated cause of death is not evidence-based. A detailed investigation by the appropriate bodies is required beforereaching such conclusions.

As a medical doctor (histopathology specialist trainee) and one who has a first-hand experience of sickle cell anaemia, the complications are many, but death from such is rarely sudden.  The life-threatening complications include; acute chest syndrome, pulmonary embolism, sequestration crisis, aplastic anaemia, low haemoglobin level (anaemia), cerebrovascular accident, heart failure, multi-organ failure and, of course, the well-known bone pain crises.  Most of these complications will present with a period of being unwell, which may ultimately lead to death. Bacterialsepticaemia could also cause death in a sickle cell patient, but a period of fever would herald such a death. However, cerebrovascular accident, and rarely acute chest syndrome, pulmonary embolism and sequestration crisis can cause sudden death. Establishing these causes of sudden sickle cell death is best done by post-mortem examination (autopsy).

Although, we are not aware if Tosyn was unwell with any of the previously stated complications prior to her death, it may be misleading to attribute her cause of death to complications of sickle cell without detailed investigation, post-mortem examination or information about her health status before her sudden demise. Possibilities are that she died from a rare complication of sickle cell anaemia, but an evidence-based evaluation will be more beneficial. In the general population, several medical and non-medical conditions could result in sudden death and any of these could also be the underlying cause of Tosyn’s death. That she has sickle cell anaemia does not automatically link her death to complications of sickle cell.

In Nigeria, more emphasis is laid on the demerits of sickle cell than its merits.  Some even consider it a synonym to death. There are two sides to the sickle cell gene – it is associated with many complications that could lead to death as previously enumerated. But it is also associated with multiple talents as demonstrated by Tosyn. People living with sickle cell can live normal lives with great family, medical and community support. Of course, the strength and inspiration from the mighty hand of God is central.

To those families affected with sickle cell, please support your child or ward to the very best. Focus on their positive talents and don’t consider them invalids. You will be surprised at the greatness ahead of them.

I personally lost sleep over Tosyn’s sudden death! I can imagine the pain and grief this will cause to other fans and herimmediate family. I seize this opportunity to sympathise with her husband, mother and sister.  I salute their courage for taking care of her and bringing out the best in her. I really identify with their priceless efforts that made her great. Tosynlives on in our hearts and her voice will never die.


Dr Olusola Jumoke Daramola

[email protected]

Specialist registrar histopathology

Warrington Hospital, UK

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