Originally Published: July 22, 2013
By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com

The czar is dying. It's lung cancer, likely from inhaling the primary source of his power, R.J. Reynolds' brands of cigarettes, too long.

Addled by painkillers, figuring he is finished, he has been giving away personal items almost at random at his bedside -- his boat, his Swiss watch that makes a Rolex seem working-class by comparison …

John Cooper, a close friend for 40 years, enters the hospital room. He finds the czar drooling, his head hanging half ...

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