Terrie Hall, a North Carolina woman who starred in a graphic anti-smoking commercial as part of an ad campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, died of cancer at age 53.
"She was a public-health hero," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said Sept. 17 in a statement on the agency's website. "She may well have saved more lives than most doctors do."
Hall, who died Sept. 16 in a hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., started smoking during high school and was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2001.
She continued smoking during her oral-cancer radiation treatments but quit after being diagnosed with throat cancer months later. This past summer, the cancer spread to her brain.
Hall, whose voice box was removed several years ago, teamed up with the CDC in 2011 to launch a hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign that graphically portrayed the damage smoking does to one's body.
In her commercial, Terrie demonstrates her morning routine, which includes putting on a wig, false teeth and a plastic valve for the hole in her throat.
The sobering video begins with a photo of Hall as a beautiful high-school cheerleader with radiant skin, lustrous locks and a dazzling smile.
During the past few years, Terrie was a vocal anti-smoking advocate who spoke at schools and community organizations to urge people to quit smoking. Her graphic ad has been credited with helping as many as 200,000 people kick the nicotine habit.
Sadly, her death came just one week after the CDC released a report indicating that graphic anti-smoking campaigns, notably Hall's, were effective at helping people quit smoking.
Hall is survived by her daughter, Dana, and two grandsons.