Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Student Dies of Brain Cancer

GU Student Dies of Brain Cancer

By Jeff DeMartino Hoya Staff Writer

Jesse Star Langley, a marketing major who was scheduled to graduate last May from the McDonough School of Business, died of brain cancer at the age of 22 in his Culver City, Calif., home Oct. 30.

Langley suffered from the cancer rhabdomyosarcoma, according to close friend Blake Lugash, who attended the Buckley School near Los Angeles with Langley from grades five to 12. Langley graduated from Buckley in 1995.

After matriculating at Georgetown for two years, Langley returned to his native Australia to study for a year at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Lugash said that Langley preferred the warm weather of Australia to the cold winters he spent in the District.

“He loved the ocean. He loved going to the beach,” said girlfriend Dana Krupinski, who met Langley in Australia while studying abroad from Duke University. Acquaintances said that Langley enjoyed a panorama of activities, from practicing yoga to perfecting his impersonations of others to penning comedy scripts.

“He had drawers full of ideas of TV shows and movies,” Lugash said. The notebooks and papers with his script ideas all figured into one of his dreams: producing. Langley’s television influences included such older sitcoms as “I Love Lucy,” “The Golden Girls” and “The Jeffersons.”

“God – he loved Judge Judy,” Krupinski said. “Something out of the ordinary was always Jesse’s favorite.

“He wanted to do just about everything.”

But by the summer of 1998, after he had returned from Australia, Langley started getting headaches and his eyes felt swollen, Lugash said. Even though his doctors in California thought Langley was suffering only from sinus headaches, his pain continued through the school year.

“He would have headaches all the time,” said Brian Frutig (COL ’00), who lived with Langley in Village A last fall. Frutig added that Langley grew increasingly concerned with his health over the course of the semester.

Langley was diagnosed with cancer on Halloween weekend last year, Lugash said, after a biopsy was performed on him at Georgetown University Hospital. Langley flew home to begin treatment – 12 weeks of radiation and 40 weeks of chemotherapy. Krupinski said that Langley’s spirit persevered throughout the therapy.

“He was aware of the fact that people had a hard time dealing with [his illness] … and he ended up comforting them,” Krupinski said.

Doctors thought that Langley had recovered over the last year, according to Lugash. But in the 38th week of chemotherapy, Langley suffered a seizure and doctors discovered a second tumor in his head.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a pediatric cancer, according to Dr. Marc E. Lippman of the Georgetown University Medical Center. While the illness is one of the more common forms of cancer in children, Dr. Lippman said that Langley was “a little outside the normal [age] range” for rhabdomyosarcoma patients.

Lippman is a cancer specialist at the Lombardi Cancer Center.

Lugash said that Langley seemed the least likely of cancer candidates, and not only because of his age.

“He didn’t drink. He didn’t smoke,” Lugash said. “For him, of all people, to get cancer … it’s a fluke.”

At his memorial service, a booklet collage of Langley’s life – with a star emblazoned on the cover – included a picture of Langley and his pet golden retriever, Dusty, sprawled out on a bed together. Krupinski put a framed picture of Dusty in Langley’s bedroom a month ago.

Langley is survived by his mother, father, two grandparents, two sisters, his brother and several aunts, uncles and cousins. His mother, Lynn Langley, his sister Summer and Krupinski wrote a eulogy honoring Langley’s passions:

“Had Jesse been able to pursue his dreams, he would have eradicated children’s cancer, been a top studio executive, winner of 47 Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenwriter), philanthropist, owner of a 350-foot yacht captained by his uncle Andy, guardian of golden retrievers, tropical ocean swimmer, owner of villas around the world, cult leader, yogi, guru, stand-up comedian, Pulitzer Prize-winner, loving husband and proud father, psychologist, CEO of at least two major multinational corporations, talk show host, helicopter pilot, listed in the Forbes 400 (Top 5), motivational speaker, American president, Australian prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner.”

A memorial service for Langley was held Nov. 4. Langley’s family requests that gifts in his name may be made to the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, PO Box 60012, Arcadia, CA, 91066-6012.

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