17 Celebrities You Probably Didn’t Know Were Living With Serious Illness

Veteran rapper Masta Ace recently revealed that he was living with multiple sclerosis, while our beloved Missy Elliott is living with Graves' disease. Their lives may be glitz and glamour on the outside, but these 17 celebs are all living with serious illnesses.

Taylor Lewis Mar, 02, 2016

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Brooklyn-based MC Masta Ace was told he had multiple sclerosis in 2000, but kept the diagnosis to himself for 15 years. Though the debilitating disease attacks the nervous system and can result in limited mobility or paralysis, Masta Ace has found the silver lining—it has encouraged him to take up a rigorous fitness routine and pushed him to be his most creative self. You can read about his journey in an essay he wrote for Medium.com.

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Halle Berry has been living with Type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years—she was diagnosed in 1989 while starring on Living Dolls. In 2007, the actress claimed that she had been able to wean herself off of the insulin and her diagnosis had been downgraded to Type 2 diabetes, but doctors told ABC News that that was doubtful.

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When Missy Elliott went MIA in 2005, rumors began circulating about Misdemeanor’s health. She later revealed that she was diagnosed with Grave’s disease in 2008, shortly after she lost a considerable amount of weight. She told Billboard last year that she suffered from high blood pressure, hair loss and severe headaches. Luckily, she has been able to adopt a medication regimen that helps keeps the symptoms at bay.

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Four years ago, Nick Cannon announced to the world that he was suffering from Lupus. Instead of shying away from the spotlight, Cannon embraced the diagnosis wholeheartedly and decided to use his platform to educate others. He’s actively involved with the Lupus Foundation of America, and even served as grand marshal in the organization’s 2014 charity walk.

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After a series of health scares that left doctors perplexed, Toni Braxton was diagnosed with Lupus in 2010. The singer has been open about her battle with the autoimmune disease, but though she said it has left her exhausted and with flu-like symptoms on a regular basis, she has not let it stop her thriving career.

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The NBA legend made headlines in 2009 when he came forward and revealed that he had been diagnosed with leukemia the previous year. He told Good Morning America that he initially thought the disease was a death sentence, but he wants to show people that those diagnosed with the cancer can have long and fruitful lives.

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In 1999, talk show host Montel Williams received a heartbreaking diagnosis: He was suffering from multiple sclerosis. He told Oprah Winfrey in 2009 that the pain was unbearable—during commercial breaks on his talk show, he would go backstage and cry because of the pain—he has learned psychological and psychiatric techniques to help him take control of the debilitating disease.

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Sherri Shepherd used her 2007 Type 2 diabetes diagnosis as an excuse to change her life for the better. The comedienne dropped 40 pounds and told USA TODAY that if it weren’t for diabetes, she wouldn’t be going to the doctor, wouldn’t be healthy for her son and enjoying a stack of IHOP pancakes on the reg.

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For years, Seal has been battling discoid lupus erythematosus, a form of lupus that only affects the skin and can cause scarring. Typically, the disease only affects scarring on the face and scalp, but it can also cause hair loss and those who suffer from it are advised to stay out of the sun.

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As a child, Tione “T-Boz” Watkins was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and told she wouldn’t live beyond the age of 30. Now 45, she continues to defy the odds—in 2006, she underwent a seven-hour surgery to have a brain tumor removed.

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In the beginning, Anthony Anderson wrote off his extreme exhaustion as simply being overworked. However, when he visited a doctor in 2001, he found out that he had Type 2 diabetes. Because his father also suffered from Type 2 diabetes—and Anderson saw his condition of life deteriorate rapidly—Anderson completely revamped his lifestyle and has been making healthier choices ever since.

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When fans began noticing that Lil Wayne was suffering from seizures, the rapper announced that he had suffered from epilepsy for much of his life. He told MTV in 2013 that the seizures come on without warning, and after they have, he has no recollection of them.

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Damon Dash kept his diabetes diagnosis under wraps for year, only coming forth in a 2006 CNN interview. He told anchors that he wants to raise awareness—particularly because of the prevalence of the disease in the Black community—and is actively involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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Known as one-third of music group The Black Eyed Peas, Allan Pineda Lindo, aka apl.de.ap, was born in the Philippines and later adopted by Joe Ben Hudgens. 

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When Patti LaBelle was diagnosed with diabetes in 1994, the singer thought that that meant she would have to abandon her love of cooking. But 22 years later, LaBelle has learned to live with her diagnosis and has adapted her recipes to be a bit more diabetes-friendly.

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Morgan Freeman isn’t one to shy away from the pain of his fibromyalgia, a disorder that can cause sever muscle and joint pain. The actor, who has it in his left arm, told the Daily Beast the marijuana is the best cure out there.