Ian Fleming was a lifelong smoker, latterly using a cigarette filter. Towards the end of his life he also drank heavily. However in other respects he was fit, being slim and active. As a young man, he had been a talented athlete, winning many cups at school. In later life, he took his main exercise on the golf course. There was little that gave him more pleasure than a round of golf on a favourite course with old friends. However, it was probably his smoking that took its toll and he had his first major heart attack in 1962 at the age of 53, although he may have had minor incidents before then. Thereafter his health deteriorated and it was clear to all that he was extremely unwell. He died of a further attack following a meeting at the Royal St George’s Golf Club at Sandwich in Kent on 12th August 1964. He had recently been nominated Captain Elect of the golf club, an appointment of which he was enormously proud.
Given the incidence of heart disease in the family, money was raised in 2008 during Ian Fleming’s centenary year for the British Heart Foundation, which went towards the Ian Fleming intermediate research fellowship. To learn more about this please click here.