Houdini was short — only 5 feet 5 inches — stocky and incredibly muscular. He often let young men punch him in the stomach to prove his physical prowess. One evening, after Houdini had broken his ankle during a performance several days earlier, a college student approached him as he was reclining on a sofa. The student sucker-punched Houdini in the stomach and, without having time to physically prepare for the blow, Houdini was seriously injured. Refusing to go to the doctor, he continued to perform, despite the pain and having a high fever. He passed out during the show and was taken to the hospital. On Halloween, Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix.