From the L.A. Times: Angelo Crippa loved to forage for wild fungi in the hills above Santa Barbara. After eating a heaping plate of what he thought was an innocuous variety, he died of liver failure within a week.
An adventurous spirit, Angelo Crippa often foraged for wild mushrooms in the hills above Santa Barbara. But the 82-year-old's lifelong hobby turned tragic when he mistakenly picked the wrong ones in a wooded park near Arroyo Burro Beach, sautéing them with a steak for what would be his last meal.
Crippa died a week ago at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, seven days after he ate a heaping plate of the deadly Amanita ocreata mushrooms, said his wife, Joan Crippa.
Known as "death angel" for its snow-white appearance, the fungus has deadly toxins that worked their way through Crippa's system, sickening him and eventually causing his liver to fail. This year's relatively wet winter has produced a bumper crop of mushrooms, both edible and toxic, health experts say.
Family members had often warned Crippa against indulging in his passion for hunting wild mushrooms, an activity he learned from his Italian immigrant parents, his wife said.
"You couldn't tell him anything because he'd been so lucky for 82 years," she said.