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DENNIS DAILY, United Press International

ANOTHER ARTIFICIAL HEART RECIPIENT DIES

Officials at Jewish Hospital in Louisville confirm Tom Christerson, the longest-surviving artificial heart recipient, has died. Christerson lived 16 months and four days with a plastic-and-titanium AbioCor heart inside his chest. A spokesman for the University of Louisville told the Courier-Journal a plastic membrane inside the heart simply fell apart after about a million beats. Just before his heart started failing the 71-year-old Christerson told nurses he felt fine and wanted breakfast. After being told the heart was failing, the family agreed to not recharge the unit's batteries and to simply allow Christerson to go peacefully. "We all said our goodbyes to him," Dr. Laman Gray told the publication. "It was just a very peaceful way of passing away." When Seattle dentist Barney Clark got an artificial heart in 1982 he was hooked to a machine the size of a small refrigerator. It was thought the heart would last forever. It didn't. Another much-publicized implantation also happened at Louisville in Humana Hospital. It involved Indiana Little League coach Bill Schroeder. His heart also eventually failed.

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STARS TAPPED TO DO EARNHARDT TRIBUTE SHOW

The lineup for the first-ever Dale Earnhardt tribute show is forming with Alabama at the top of the list. CMT says in addition to the award-winning group, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney and Cheryl Crow will perform at the June 28 event. The concert, officially called the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert, will be a fundraising show with the proceeds to benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. As you might expect, the venue for the show will be the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach. It will be held a week before a major event there -- the NASCAR Winston Cup Pepsi 400. Tickets for the concert will go on sale March 22.

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HEAD OF MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA TO RETIRE

After serving for a dozen years at the helm of the prestigious Minnesota Orchestra, David Hyslop says it's time to retire. Hyslop says he will step down in the fall, but only after spearheading the group's 100th birthday concert series in early November. He began his career with the orchestra on its staff in the mid 1960s. He left in 1972 but returned to take over the post of president in 1991. Hyslop notes he's spent nearly half his life associated with the Minnesota Orchestra in one capacity or another. He also says the real thrill connected with his job has been sitting in the audience and hearing what his "workers" actually do, whether it be in St. Ben's Hall, Orchestra Hall or Suntory Hall. During the Hyslop years the orchestra has doubled the size of its outreach program to students, received six Grammy nominations and expanded its national radio broadcasts through Minnesota Public Radio. Among Hyslop's biggest fans is former "Tonight" orchestra leader Doc Severinsen, current leader of the Minnesota Pops series. He says his boss likely will hit the basketball court after leaving, "challenging players half his age."


YET ANOTHER WAYLON TRIBUTE PLANNED

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Musicians are putting together still another tribute to the former "country rebel" Waylon Jennings. Norah Jones and Kris Kristofferson will be going to Dualtone Records recording studios to help complete what country.com calls a major tribute. The CD will be called "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean," to be released April 15. Others who have taped sessions are Carlene Carter, Guy Clark, Radney Foster, Nanci Griffith and Robert Earl Keene. Another all-star tribute, this one from RCA -- "I've Always Been Crazy: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings" -- will hit store shelves less than a month later.


LEMIEUX IN RARE 'GLOVES-OFF' INCIDENT

One of the grand old men of hockey, Mario Lemieux, has shown a person can only take so much. In a rare event in which he became so angry he took off his gloves and headed for another player, the superstar was ejected from a recent Panthers-Penguins game. The ejection marked the first time in six years Lemieux has been "asked to leave." The other combatant in the incident was Florida's Brad Ference. According to MSNBC, Ference was taken aback for a moment when Lemieux dropped his gloves, since it's something the powerful player seldom has done during his long career. Since Lemieux also is the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, it marked the first time an owner was ejected from an NHL contest. The Panthers went on to beat Lemieux's team 6-0.

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UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 521

Today we are asking: "Would you be willing to become a recipient of an artificial heart if all else fails?" Put HEART in the subject line and send to comments@upi.com via the Internet.


RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 516 (SHUTTLE)

Last week we asked if you'd be willing to take a future shuttle flight (if there are any). From our usual random dip into the e-mail inbox here is what we found:

-- An overwhelming 85 percent said no.

-- Only 15 percent would be willing to try it.

TOMORROW: Open a new window. GBA

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