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13 Celebrities with Life-Threatening Conditions

Rosie O'Donnell

In 2012, O’Donnell suffered from a heart attack as a result of 99% blockage in her left descending artery and had a stent inserted . Like many women, O’Donnell didn’t recognize the signs and didn’t visit the doctor until the next day. She was lucky to have survived after waiting so long, and her survival is considered a medical mystery. Now she speaks out about how important is for women to know the signs of heart disease and to seek help should any occur.

(Image via shankbone, CC)

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., has suffered from epileptic seizures since he was a child. In fact, before he was diagnosed with epilepsy he passed out on the playground during school and no one knew it was a seizure. Lil Wayne has said he’s suffered several seizures during his life, and had to change his lifestyle in order to better manage them. In recent years he has been more mindful of his health.

Montel Williams

Williams has multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system, and he lived with it for several years before opening up to the public. He described his symptoms with the following: “My primary symptom is pain. I’ve got pain from my shins to my feet, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it’s been there for the last ten years.”

Sarah Hyland

Kidney dysplasia is a condition that occurs if one or both of the kidneys doesn’t develop properly in utero. If both kidneys are affected the person will likely need a kidney transplant. Sarah Hyland is one of those people. She was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia at the age of 9. In 2012 her father donated one of his kidneys to her after the pain and exhaustion she experienced became too much to handle on the set of Modern Family. Now Hyland is healthy and pain-free.


Hugh Jackman

After his wife urged him to visit a dermatologist, Hugh Jackman had a spot on his nose inspected. His doctor diagnosed him with basal cell carcinoma and he received treatment in 2013. He then was diagnosed twice more in 2014 and underwent treatment. He is now cancer-free, but has since become a strong advocate for sunscreen and regular doctor visits. He revealed his diagnosis via an Instagram post (found here)

Mark Ruffalo

In 2000 Ruffalo woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming that he had a brain tumor. The dream spurred him to visit the doctor’s office, and he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Though the tumor wasn’t malignant, the surgery was risky, and it led to bells palsy on one side of his face for 10 months. Luckily, the partial facial paralysis went away and he is now tumor free.

(Image via michael_mayer, CC)

Shannen Doherty

The Beverly Hills 90210 star revealed she had Crohn’s disease in 1999 and has dealt with it for years. Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive system and causes severe digestive problems. It can be managed with medication, a healthy diet, and active lifestyle. While she let the world know she suffered from Crohn’s disease, Doherty has chosen to remain private about the struggles of living with it.

Randy Travis

The beloved country singer has viral cardiomyopathy, which weakens and enlarges the heart. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Travis suffered heart failure and a seizure due to his condition. He is now in recovery and attending speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

Michael C. Hall

The Dexter star was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, during filming for the show’s fourth season and began treatment when filming wrapped. He revealed his diagnosis in 2010 and has been in remission ever since. Now that he is in remission and healthy, Hall has become a spokesperson for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society.


Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012, a disease of the blood and bone marrow (previously called preleukemia), after surviving breast cancer. Treatment for MDS requires chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, both of which Roberts underwent. Roberts is now in good health and cancer-free.

Bill Clinton

Former President Clinton’s struggle with heart disease is no secret, but it hasn’t been a one-time occurrence. In addition to his quadruple bypass surgery in 2004, Clinton has also had two stents placed in his original clogged artery after another blockage occurred. Despite his commitment to a healthy diet and exercise after the bypass surgery Clinton still has to regularly visit the doctor to make sure everything is okay. Heart disease is a progressive condition so Clinton and O’Donnell will both deal with it for the rest of their lives.


Tom Hanks

In 2013, Hanks revealed he had been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes after battling high blood sugar for several years. Luckily, this is a condition that Hanks can manage with a healthy diet and exercise. Despite the difficult diagnosis, Hanks was positive about his ability to handle it and has done a wonderful job ever since.

Toni Braxton

Braxton collapsed while performing in Las Vegas in 2008, and the resulting tests revealed she had lupus. Lupus is a life-long disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue and leads to rashes, joint pain, and inflammation of vital organs, like the heart and lungs. Braxton controls her condition with heart-healthy habits and medication. Even though doctors advised her to stop performing she chose to continue working because it makes her feel better and keeps her going.