People who thrive on bad news; who always want to be "in on the action" when there is a disaster/tragedy; who try to find any personal connection, no matter how remote, to the current tragedy; and who make things sound more serious/emotional/melodramatic than they really are -- as a way of drawing attention to themselves more than anything else.
Similar to, but more specific than a drama queen
. A sympathy whore
gravitates towards an event, be it a plane crash, flood, serious illness or the death of someone else.
Different from a drama ho
"Oh my God! (sob) My brother's best friend's nephew was just killed in a car accident. (sob). It's just so awful...(sob). When is the funeral? (sob) No, I'd never met him, but I need to be there to support my brother. (wail)" -- example of a sympathy whore
Someone who insists on expounding every detail about every issue in their life every time they see you in hopes you'll feel bad for them. Somehow these people always have a lot of terrible things happen to them. Even though you do feel bad for them, you get tired of hearing about it.
Andrew cornered me in the hall and updated me on his sister's crippling car crash, his mother's botched dialysis, his divorce, and how his cat died last week, even though he just told me yesterday. He's such a sympathy whore.