Santa Claus is known to provide a lot of things for young children throughout the holiday season. He obviously gives presents, but Saint Nick also gives jolly, love, good tiding and cheer. Unfortunately, he gave a group of children the scares of their lives when a Russian Santa collapsed, and then died in during a school Christmas party. There's footage of the whole encounter too; you can even watch the gaggle of children confused and dismay at Santa Claus' death.
The unlikely and unexpected Christmas story reported by Mirror goes as follows. The late Santa, played by Russian actor Valery Titenko, was running around with the children and being playful, silly and fun. After all, what kid doesn't want to play with Santa? But there's a moment where Titenko stops running, and eerily stands completely upright, with a look of distress painted on his face. Only seconds later Titenko falls backward with a thump.
After first, it appears that the children didn't know anything is wrong. They run up to Santa Claus thinking that he fell over as part of the game they're playing in that moment. The tikes run up to the soon-to-be-deceased Santa Claus and can still be heard giggling a little bit and wearing smiles on their face. But the adults in the room, visibly distressed, understand the seriousness of what just happened to their Santa Claus. They swiftly start to panic, and jump into action.
As one might guess by now, Santa Claus fell victim to a heart attack. It was a sudden one, unexpected by everyone involved. Not only for the actor playing Santa Claus but certainly for the adults and children in attendance for this Christmas-themed event. Shortly after Valery Titenko fell over, a woman can quickly be seen running to Titenko's assistance, if to no avail. Santa ultimately died in the ambulance ride while he was rushed to the hospital.
Valery Titenko was 67 when he passed away, dressed as Santa Claus, in an ambulance headed towards a hospital in Kemerovo, Russia. Unfortunately, this is a Christmas story that doesn't have a happy ending. Shortly after Titenko fell to the ground, the dismayed children were quickly taken out of the room and it is not clear what happened to the school children from there. Were they told, in any manner, what happened? Did the teachers simply say "Santa got sick" and leave it at that? Most likely we won't be able to find. Ultimately, it is a dark turn of events that did not bring a great deal of Christmas cheer.
While the death of Valery Titenko was unexpected that day, there was apparently cause. The actor reportedly had a series of health-related problems leading up to that fateful day, including chest pains. He allegedly knew he wasn't feeling too well during that day's performance, but didn't want to let the kids down by his absence. While that is a kind thought, maybe it would've been better for everyone involved -- especially him -- if he called in sick that day. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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