The Stunning Number Of Years Charles Osborne Spent Hiccuping

Having hiccups can be annoying but, for most, the condition can go away as easily as it came. Hiccups happen when the diaphragm contracts out of pattern and quickly sends air into the lungs, according to Healthline. This then produces hiccups. Many resort to drinking a glass of water or holding their breath to get rid of hiccups, but one man wasn't successful and spent decades hiccupping.

Charles Osborne was born in 1894 in Iowa and started hiccupping in 1922. He worked at his father's farm and it was there where it all began. Osborne was preparing to butcher a 350-pound hog and as he carried it, he fell down and that's when the hiccups started. As anyone would, he tried everything to stop the hiccups to no avail. He eventually sought medical help and the doctor said that his fall caused the hiccups. "He destroyed a small area in the brain stem that inhibits the hiccup response," the doctor said (via People.)

Charles Osborne's life with hiccups

Osborne eventually became quite famous for his nonstop hiccups and appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and the "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" radio show. One of the solutions to chronic hiccupping is surgery, but that can cause breathing issues — a risk that Osborne wasn't willing to take. He went on with his daily life and learned to live with the hiccups. At one point in his 80s, he underwent a hormone therapy experiment that was able to stop his hiccups for 36 hours. However, he was unable to continue with the experiment as other health problems arose.

Osborne was also featured in the column of a local newspaper and received thousands of letters providing suggestions and remedies for his condition. Still, nothing worked. At one point, according to People, a friend attempted to solve his hiccupping problem by shooting a shotgun behind Osborne. "It scared me some, but it didn't scare the hiccups out of me," Charles said.

According to Sioux City Journal, Charles Osborne hiccupped 40 times per minute at first and then later slowed down to 20 hiccups per minute when he got older. He hiccupped approximately 430 million times in 68 years, making him the Guinness World Record holder for the longest attack of hiccups.

Charles Osborne's hiccups stopped in 1990. He was able to enjoy almost a year without hiccups before he died in 1991 at 98 years old.