I'm curious what caused it to:
Patty Duke’s son, actor Sean Astin, told TMZ his mother’s passing comes as somewhat of a relief for her family, because she was in a lot of pain at the end of her life. He told the New York Times there was “so much suffering” during the later years of her life:
"This episode happened where her lower intestine basically ruptured and then there was septicemia. So she was alert
and she was able to talk to the surgeons when she went in and that was a very good and healthy process. It was clear how serious it was. ‘This is a very, very sick woman,’ the doctor said and so everyone knew that it was a potentially fatal moment for her and she came out on the other side of the surgery … So from Thursday until this morning at 1:20 a.m (it) was a really, really, really hard process. It was hard for her, it was hard for the people who love her to help her, it was hard for the professionals."
While it's not common to die of a ruptured intestine, it is often a sign of a larger underlying health condition, says Dr. Anton Bilchik, M.D., chief of medicine and chief of gastrointestinal research at John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. Since he did not treat Duke, he says it's hard to know what her condition was but said that diverticulitis (infection in the digestive tract) and cancer are two common causes of intestinal rupture.
"Intestines very rarely rupture spontaneously. It's usually an unexpected complication of another illness or a surgical procedure," he explains. "On its own, a ruptured intestine is very treatable with antibiotics or even surgery and your risk of dying from it low."
But he adds that if the gastrointestinal perforation leads to an infection, that ups the risk of death. This can happen when bacteria, bile, stomach acid, partially digested food and even stool leak into the abdominal cavity. A person would then start to show symptoms of infection like a high fever, vomiting and severe stomach pain, which would need immediate medical attention. If the infection isn't treated right away, that can lead to major problems, including death.