Shortly after his 40th birthday in 1991, Michael Corke, a music teacher from Chicago, began having trouble sleeping. In the following weeks, the insomnia grew worse and his health rapidly deteriorated. Eventually he couldnâ€™t sleep at all.
The doctors were baffled but could do nothing for him. Michael was physically and mentally exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to be able to fall asleep. But his brain wouldnâ€™t let him.
Video footage of him appearing at a school orchestra concert revealed a frail old man - a far cry from the fit and healthy individual he was just months earlier. Eventually he was admitted to hospital and doctors diagnosed him with an extremely rare genetic disorder discovered just seven years prior: Fatal Familial Insomnia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_familial_insomnia).
Michael Corke died in the hospital after six months from a complete lack of sleep.