BHR died of complications related to diabetes.

Truman G. Madsen

Truman G. Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B.H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 382

John Hopkins, Truman G. Madsen, Hugh B. Brown, B. H. Roberts, Joseph Fielding Smith
Reading Public

On September 17, 1933, Roberts spoke at the funeral of longtime Davis Country friend, John Hopkins. Elder Hugh B. Brown was present in the service and observed Roberts's drowsiness, bloodshot eyes, and perspiring brow. As he spoke, his usual vigor seemed clouded. As he finished his tribute, he looked over the heads of the gathering and said: "So long, Jack. I'll be seeing you in a few days." No one realized this was his public declaration of his own departure only days away.

The observable symptoms of his diabetes had increased rather than decreased with age, and some may have supposed them to be signs of a drinking habit. Diabetic drivers have been arrested and jailed, and in some cases have died in jail, because even professional law enforcement officers mistake symptoms of intoxication for those of diabetes: seeming alcoholic breath, precarious balance, slurred speech. In a diabetic person these symptoms indicate either too little insulin or too much sugar. Roberts, especially in his last years, was afflicted both ways. But President Joseph Fielding Smith told the author, acknowledging that Roberts had a "tendency" to alcohol in his earlier years, "I worked by his side, shoulder to shoulder, every day for the last five years of his life. He lived above reproach."

Considering the example and environment of his early life, Roberts might well have gone to a premature grave an alcoholic. Instead, in the words of an intimate friend, "He is not likely to receive just credit in this world for all he has overcome."

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