ON THIS DAY: February 22, 1987, Andy Warhol dies after gallbladder surgery

NEW YORK CITY, NY — Born Andrew Warhola in 1928, and raised in Oakland, he graduated from Schenley High School in 1945. Shortly after graduating from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he moved to New York City. There he enjoyed a successful career as an advertisement illustrator.

His nomadic New York studio was called “The Factory,” and was a place where celebrities, wealthy patrons and the whole palette of humanity would gather and participate in his experimental art. At the Factory, an openly homosexual Warhol was described as presiding over an active drug and party culture in a sexually tense “court of lunatics.”

Warhol’s influential works spanned across multiple disciplines from printmaking to cinema. He became, perhaps, best known for his silkscreen paintings “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and “Marilyn Monroe.” Other notable works included various self-portraits and the BMW Art Car Project.

On June 3, 1968, Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas, a radical feminist and a frequent visitor at the Factory. Solanas was convinced that Warhol was trying to steal her manuscript, which was a manifesto advocating the elimination of men. Warhol was shot twice, briefly died before doctors revived him, and suffered extensive internal injuries that would require him to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life. A London gallery owner was also shot, but was not seriously injured. Solanas was briefly jailed for the assault.

Following the shooting, Warhol’s art changed profoundly and he became much more guarded. Deeply scarred physically, Warhol’s fear of hospitals was also heightened during his long recovery. He sought out alternative medicine and it is likely this hesitancy to seek proper medical treatment contributed to his death.

Warhol died shortly after gallbladder surgery on Feb. 22, 1987, at the age of 58.

The surgery was thought to be routine, but his family sued New York Hospital and accused it of providing poor care. The suit was settled out of court.

His brothers brought his body back to Pittsburgh and Warhol was buried at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Bethel Park.

The Andy Warhol Museum opened on Pittsburgh’s North Side on Sandusky Street, following extensive renovations to the industrial warehouse, on May 13, 1994.

The museum is the largest single-artist museum in North America and holds the largest collection of Warhol’s art and archival materials, including 350 films, more than 4,000 videotapes and 610 time capsules that Warhol filled during his life.

Tate Modern has posted a virtual tour online of their Andy Warhol Exhibition, which opened just before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Seventh Street Bridge was renamed for Andy Warhol on March 18, 2005, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the nearby Andy Warhol Museum. Sandusky Street, where the museum is located, leads to the bridge.