It’s a common practice in journalism — major news organizations worldwide keep advance obituaries on file for major public figures. That’s why The New York Times, Boston Globe, ESPN, Time Magazine and CBS News have long, drawn out profiles posted to their websites the instant the doctor declares time of death on anyone of particular importance.

Usually these celebrities are octogenarians or better, or they are extremely ill — cancer, major surgery, heart attacks, etc.

But now it’s Charleton Heston, Sydney Pollack, Fidel Castro, Ariel Sharon … and Britney Spears.

The Associated Press has started writing the 26-year-old pop superstar’s obituary in the wake (figuratively speaking) of a series of self-destructive acts recently.

“We are not wishing it, but if Britney passed away, it’s easily one of the biggest stories in a long time,” AP entertainment editor Jesse Washington told Us Magazine. “I think one would agree that Britney seems at risk right now.”

Spears has seven number one United World Chart hits, and her two current singles, “Piece of me,” and “Gimme More” are in the top 25 in the United States and worldwide. She has sold more than 83 million records, but two years of personal problems have marred the star of late and raised questions about her emotional health.

On January 3 police were called to the singer’s home after she refused to return her children to their father Kevin Federline. She spent a few days under psychiatric watch at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after she “appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance.”

Soon after, on January 14, Spears list all visitation rights with her kids until a hearing in April.

“If something were to happen, we would have to be prepared,” Washington said.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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