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Abstract

Abundant in books, on television, in film, on the internet, and in newspapers and magazines, in the twenty-first century death is hugely accessible. Within recent years, sociologists have responded to this visibility by examining death in the media, including its role and status in popular culture and ‘public mourning’, seen for example following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. This article considers a third strand of death in the media that requires sociological attention: public dying. Drawing on the extensive media coverage of reality TV personality Jade Goody’s dying and subsequent death in early 2009, the article examines the way in which Goody’s dying illustrated how it can be commodified.