Blue Man Dies: 'Papa Smurf' Paul Karason Had Argyria (Video)

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 01:19 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A man the Internet dubbed "Papa Smurf" after a medical condition turned his skin permanently blue died Monday at a hospital in Washington state. He was 62.

Paul Karason died Monday after suffering a heart attack and severe stroke, his estranged wife Jo Anna Karason told Tuesday. He was also battling pneumonia.

Karason became something of an Internet sensation in 2008 when he made the interview rounds on various TV channels to discuss the condition that left his face tinged blue.

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It started about 15 years ago when he began brewing and drinking colloidal silver to treat a bad case of dermatitis, or skin inflammation. He had read about the new-age treatment in a magazine, but wasn't aware that ingesting too much of the metal could cause argyria, or bluish skin.

It happens when the silver collects in a person's skin and organs and doesn’t disperse.

Silver was used for thousands of years to treat infections until it was replaced by penicillin in the 1930s.

Jo Anna Karason said Paul Karason lived a mostly secluded life. He didn’t like a lot of attention and wasn’t too keen on his "Papa Smurf" nickname.

"That was a nickname he didn’t appreciate, depending on who said it," she told "If it was a kid who ran up to him saying 'Papa Smurf,' it would put a smile on his face. But if it was an adult, well…."

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