David Soul, an actor and singer famous for playing Detective Kenneth ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson in the television series Starsky & Hutch, died on January 4, 2024. Soul’s wife, Helen Snell, wrote on X that he passed away ‘after a valiant battle for life in the loving company of family’.

David Soul battled lung cancer and chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease

David Soul blamed a lifetime of cigarette abuse as the cause of his lung cancer and chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease (COPD). Soul smoked up to three packs daily for 50 years. He had cancer removed from his left lung and learned to live with COPD. Soul said on his website:

“It [smoking] took its toll and I quit about 10 years ago, [but] you can’t reverse the condition. One thing I can’t do now, which is my livelihood, is sing or work in theater. My voice had dropped considerably and I don’t have the vocal range, or the power.”

Soul also underwent decompression surgery on his spine and neck surgery due to nerve damage that prevented him from playing his guitar. He spent some time in a wheelchair. Soul explained:

“I am a fighter and I did fight my way through this thing. There is no question about it, but without Helen I never would have made it. She’s magnificent. Phew. What a strong lady. She was as much a part of my getting better as the doctors were.”

Soul almost died while undergoing hip replacement surgery in 2017

Soul nearly passed away during a routine hip replacement surgery in 2017. He slipped into unconsciousness and spent 10 weeks in intensive care. The doctors expected him to die, so they placed him in palliative care. However, after receiving treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, Soul recovered. He said:

“I spent 72 days in intensive care, including twice being put on a ventilator and undergoing a tracheostomy. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t do anything, I was in delirium. Bless the Royal Free, I tell you. The NHS is just the best.”

Soul died while surrounded by his wife and children, the most important people in his life. “When I’m surrounded by my six children, I feel rich,” Soul said.