Internet Sensation 'Papa Smurf' Dies: Skin Blue from Argyria (Video)

First Posted: Sep 25, 2013 02:37 PM EDT

Sixty-two-year-old Paul Karason was admitted to a Washington hospital after suffering from a heart attack, according to the TODAY show. He passed away after suffering from a battle with pneumonia and recent stroke, according to various reports.

He had previously graced the Today Show in America when he revealed to audience members that he had a health condition that caused his skin to turn blue. After the appearance, he shot into internet fame as the real life "Papa Smurf" for his rare condition, which resulted from drinking colloidal silver in order to treat a severe case of dermatitis about 15 years ago.

The condition that caused his skin to turn blue developed when he began to develop dramatic symptoms of argyria that's often caused by exposure to silver.

Medscape notes that the health issue is often characterized by gray to gray-black staining of the skin and mucous membranes produced by silver deposition. Silver may be deposited in the skin either from industrial exposure or as a result of medications containing silver salts. 

According to Karason's estranged wife, Jo Anna, 'Papa Smurf' was a common nickname but not necessarily an appreciated sentiment.

"If it was a kid who ran up to him... it would put a smile on his face, but if it was an adult, well ...," she told TODAY.

Unfortunately, various reports also note that Karason was a heavy smoker and had undergone triple bypass surgery.

His wife also told reporters that he'd been too ill to work recently.

Want to see how this skin condition works? Check out this video, courtesy of "How Stuff Works."

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