Christian dies during attempt at 40-day fast. By Richard Savill
09 May 2006
London: May 9, 2006. A devout Christian has died while undertaking a religious fast during which she only drank water.
Rosaline Gilbert, 34, died 23 days into the 40-day fast. A post mortem examination has failed to establish the cause of death, and further tests are being carried out.
Miss Gilbert, a catering worker, of Hackney, east London, had apparently decided to emulate Christ`s 40 days and 40 nights of starvation in the wilderness.
Her family said she began her fast on March 19, during which she read the Bible. She was buried in her home city of Gloucester last week.
"She fasted a lot," said her mother, Gloria Gilbert, 66, at the family home. "This time she wanted to fast for 40 days and 40 nights like Jesus.
"I had no idea it would end like this. She would only have water and when people from her church offered her food she refused, saying the Lord would provide for her."
Miss Gilbert`s sister, Juliet, 36, said: "We think that maybe she had not drunk enough water. She was a healthy young woman. She would have found some peace devoting herself to God."
Miss Gilbert, the youngest of eight sisters, was believed to have lost more than a stone in weight during her fast.
Her sister said: "She was very religious and she used to say she was a child of God. She was not any particular Christian denomination but was strong in her beliefs."
An inquest into Miss Gilbert`s death has been opened and adjourned.
Asker Jeukendrup, a nutritionist at the University of Birmingham, said it was unlikely that 23 days of starvation would kill a healthy and average-weight person. But the longer the body went without food the more vulnerable it became to illness