The 73-year-old “Rhoda” actress was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in January, 2013, and was given three months to live. Having surpassed that timeframe, Harper was spotted at the Kentucky Derby Barnstable Brown Gala in May according to People.com, where she reported that she was “feeling good.” Her memoir, I, Rhoda, was published in January, and, according to the Huffington Post, NBC News has plans to air a documentary about her battle with brain cancer though no airdate has been set.
Country star Glen Campbell, 77, announced he had Alzheimer’s disease in June 2011, shortly before embarking on his farewell tour, which was ended prematurely because of the progressive nature of his disease. Campbell has since hung up his guitar and has done some advocacy work for Alzheimer’s research in Washington, D.C. According to wife Kim, who told Country Weekly in June 2013, the singer struggles with depression, agitation and anxiety, all side effects of Alzheimer’s. The star’s new album, See You There, comes out August 6.
In June of 2012, Good Morning America host Robin Roberts announced that she had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease of the blood and bone marrow, just five years after battling—and beating—breast cancer. Roberts took a leave of absence from GMA to receive treatment and a bone marrow transplant. She returned to the show in February of 2013. Despite being hospitalized for what she called “opportunistic infections” related to her transplant two months later while vacationing in Florida, the former ESPN newscaster seems to be on the road to recovery. Her latest project is a new documentary about Pat Summitt called Pat XO. She recently received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for overcoming her battles with both breast cancer and MDS.
At age 61, Pat Summitt is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s college basketball history, a legacy that came to an early end in early 2012 when she announced that she was stepping down as head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The previous August, Summitt made the startling announcement that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia “Alzheimer’s type.” Since retiring, Coach Summitt has started her own foundation for Alzheimer’s research and has won numerous awards for her courageous battle with the disease. In March 2013, she released a new book called Sum It Up, and ESPN recently aired a documentary about her life and career called Pat XO.
In May, actress Angelina Jolie announced that she had had a preventative double mastectomy after learning that she carries the mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which greatly increases a person’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. With a family history of cancer-related death—her mother died of ovarian cancer in 2007—Jolie chose to be pro-active with her health, drawing both praise and criticism. Jolie underwent reconstructive surgery and has been spotted in low-cut tanks. She continues to divide her time between family, work and her humanitarian efforts.
The 68-year-old Oscar-winning actor announced he had Stage IV oral cancer back in August of 2010. The following January, he announced that the tumor was gone but that he would receive regular screenings since recurrences usually happen within two or three years tumor elimination. In June of 2013, Douglas, who has now been cancer-free for more than two years, caused a stir when a publication misrepresented the fact that oral sex was the cause of his cancer. His publicist denied the claim and said that Douglas was only mentioning one of the general causes of oral cancer.
Sir Elton John, 66, recently was forced to cancel a gig in Hyde Park due to an appendicitis scare. The pain was so terrible, he had to walk off stage during a concert in Germany just a few days before. “I was a ticking time bomb. I guess I could have died at any time,” John told The Sun, “I feel so lucky and grateful to be alive. As for now he has postponed all of his tour dates and is expected to undergo surgery within the coming weeks.
The 28-year-old bassist of for the band Mumford & Sons was hospitalized in June 2013 to undergo emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. As a result, the band had to cancel some shows in the United States, including a performance at Bonnaroo, an annual music festival that takes place in Manchester, Tenn. Fortunately, Dwane is doing well now and has since returned to the stage to play rescheduled show.
Grammy-winning country star Randy Travis, 54, was admitted to the hospital in July 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, a potentially life-threatening heart disease. Three days later, Travis suffered a stroke. He underwent surgery on his brain to relieve the pressure from the stroke. One week later, his doctors said in a statement that his condition had stabilized and he is awake and alert and “breathing spontaneously” with the help of a ventilator. However, they also said that recovery is months away for Travis.
E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic, 38, had a very public health scare when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 after suffering with infertility issues and a miscarriage. After having a double mastectomy, she has been cancer-free for nearly two years. Rancic is back at E! News and is the proud mother of 10-month old Edward Duke, who was born via surrogacy.
Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed, 71, received a life-changing liver transplant in May of 2013 after suffering from liver failure. In late June, just 10 days after his first post-transplant public appearance, he was rushed to the hospital for a dehydration setback, but he was quickly released and is now on the mend.
The former Journey lead singer, 64, had a mole removed that turned out to be melanoma. Perry, who sadly lost his girlfriend Kellie Nash to cancer in December 2012, had to receive two surgeries in two weeks to remove the cancer cells. He wrote on his blog post that he believed “no other treatments were required.”
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