Las Vegas Sun

May 18, 2021

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Punctures and Lacerations

Leila Navidi

Schwartz greets friends and family during a celebration of the life of O’Neill, who was a drummer in a local band, the Irish Affair. “There are so many unanswered questions that are just haunting me,” Schwartz says. At the event in O’Neill’s honor, the Irish Affair played upbeat oldies, but without a drummer.

Mary Schwartz

Mary Schwartz was photographed with her dog Freckles in her Las Vegas home July 22, 2010. Mickey O'Neill, her 61-year old boyfriend and companion of 18 years, died June 14, 2010 of massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage after laparoscopic gall bladder removal surgery on June 2, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Mickey O’Neill, a 61-year-old drummer in a local Irish band, had outpatient laparoscopic surgery to remove his gall bladder June 2. A few hours after arriving home, he was throwing up and bleeding uncontrollably.

Mary Schwartz, O’Neill’s girlfriend of 18 years, called an ambulance to rush him back to the hospital. O’Neill never returned home.

The official cause of his death was a massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage, but doctors never found the source of the bleeding, she says.

“There are so many unanswered questions that are just haunting me. I know you’re supposed to have closure, but it’s just tearing at me. It’s hard to get past that.”

On Labor Day weekend, friends and family of O’Neill’s attempted to find some closure at the German-American Social Club in Las Vegas. In the tradition of an Irish wake, the mood was a mix of gaiety and sadness.

Drinks flowed. Friends read poems and told jokes.

O’Neill’s band, the Irish Affair, played upbeat oldies — without a drummer.

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