Many of us Disney fans like to think of ourselves as experts regarding topics such as Walt Disney, Disney Parks, and perhaps even the Walt Disney Company. But there are some whose entire lives revolve around the love and expertise of the Disney brand.
Jim Korkis / Wade Sampson
One of these legendary experts was Jim Korkis (AKA Wade Sampson) – a famous author and Disney historian. His work includes nearly two dozen books about Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Walt Disney (the man himself). Jim Korkis’ best-selling and most famous works include The Vault of Walt, Secret Stories of Disneyland, Secret Stories of Disneyland: Things You Never Knew You Never Knew, and Who’s Afraid of The Song of the South and Other Forbidden Disney Stories.
An accident in February sent the Disney historian to the hospital, where doctors discovered various severe health problems. Doctors found that Jim desperately needed a quadruple bypass and had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver.
Despite a hard fight against cancer, including chemotherapy, Jim Korkis could not beat the disease. It was announced on July 28 that Jim Korkis passed away at 72 years old.
It is confirmed that Disney historian Jim Korkis has sadly passed away today. It will be very difficult for any animation historian or Disney historian to reach his level of expertise. I still cherish his book on How to be a Disney Historian. He will be missed for sure. pic.twitter.com/c18mpw89bw
— Mat Brunet (AniMat) (@AniMat505) July 28, 2023
Mark Goldhaber, the organizer of a GoFundMe campaign designed to help with the Korkis’ household and medical bills, shared the news on Facebook.
Friends, I am heartbroken to have to inform you that our friend Jim Korkis passed away this morning. He was unresponsive this morning at the rehab center and was transported to the hospital. His brother Mike was able to arrive a few minutes before Jim passed. While Jim could not respond, Mike said that Jim appeared to be able to hear him, and he was able to talk to Jim for those last few minutes.
Jim had been feeling good this week, and there really was no indication that things would take a turn for the worse. He did not appear to be in pain, and went quickly and quietly as he had wished.
There will be a memorial for Jim at a date and time to be determined. It will be held via Zoom so that those elsewhere in the US or overseas can attend. We’ll publicize the details once it’s set, but for now Mike needs to focus on taking care of the necessary details.
To those of you who contributed to this GoFundMe, THANK YOU! Your contributions and messages of support gave life and light to Jim over these last several weeks. He was astonished to see how many people loved him. The remaining balance will be used to help pay off his final medical bills.
As I get more information from Mike, I will share it. In the meantime, thank you all for your support.
The GoFundMe account raised over $40,000 from family, friends, and Disney fans to help Jim’s battle. Any amount not used to aid in his fight will help pay Jim’s final medical bills.
The Disney Dining family offers condolences to all those impacted by the loss of Jim Korkis.