Many high-profile celebrities have lived and died with the HIV/AIDS. Celebrities with the disease come to terms with the complications of being HIV-positive or contracting AIDS and try to live as normal of a life as possible. WebMD states there is still no cure or vaccine although many drugs can delay the onset of AIDS once someone is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.
How celebrities deal with the disease is often a sign of how well they will fare overall in terms of their health. Modern medicine can extend the lives of those with weakened immune systems. Just 20 years ago, people were dying at a young age due to the complications associated with AIDS.
Some HIV-positive or AIDS celebrities kept the information to themselves, desiring to navigate through their ongoing struggle in private. Other celebrities have been forthright with the public and became staunch supporters and advocates for finding a cure.
Here are four well-known celebrities and a brief look at how they wrestled with telling the public about their condition as well as how they moved forward after opening up about their illness.
Perhaps one of the most tragic deaths in the music world due to the complications associated with AIDS was Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury. In a book published after his death, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in the spring of 1987 and died four and a half years later.
Rumors had been circulating for years that Mercury had AIDS but he kept quiet about it until the day before he died when his manager made a public announcement. It became clear something was amiss when Mercury’s gaunt appearance raised concern in the music video, “These are the Days of Our Lives.” The video left little speculation that his health was failing.
Fans report Mercury’s coming to grips with his fate was made evident in his song, “The Show Must Go On.” It was the last song on Mercury’s final album with Queen entitled, “Innuendo.” It was released six weeks before the iconic rock singer died of complications from pneumonia.
L.A. Lakers guard Erving “Magic” Johnson left the game of basketball at the prime of his life after he was diagnosed with AIDS in November of 1991. Since his departure from basketball he has led a successful life as a businessman and outspoken proponent of AIDS funding and research.
During an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2006, Johnson appeared healthy and happy. “Magic” Johnson still has a lot of magic left in him. In addition to the Magic Johnson Foundation which he currently manages, Johnson recently told the Los Angeles Times he’s interested in buying an NFL franchise and returning a team to Los Angeles.
Actor Robert Reed’s struggle with AIDS was kept quiet until his death in 1992. The star of the 1970s hit television show “The Brady Bunch” didn’t reveal he was gay or suffered from AIDS during his life. The details were revealed after he died.
Reed was only 59 when he died from cancer. His official cause of death was not due to complications associated with AIDS, although it was thought his immune system may have been compromised enough to prevent proper treatment of his cancer. Actress and “Brady Bunch” co-star Florence Henderson recently paid tribute to Reed on a recent performance of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Greg Louganis has been struggling with AIDS for over 20 years. After battling the disease and a drug addiction, People magazine reports the healthy 50 year-old takes 10 pills a day and has regular blood tests to monitor his white blood cell count.
Louganis lives with his partner and travels the country in an RV. He said his ultimate dream would be an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” but he would like to serve as a dance instructor since he has had formal dance training in the past. For now, Louganis lives a quiet, health-focused life.
WebMD, “AIDS and HIV Health Center”, WebMD.com.
Hall of Fame, “Freddie Mercury Rock Legend with Video”, famous.y2u.co.uk.
Oprah Winfrey, “The New Faces of HIV/AIDS”, Oprah.com.
Third Age, “Robert Reed Remembered Following DWTS TV Theme Week Tribute”.
Chiu, Alexis, “Greg Louganis His Greatest Victory”, People.com.