The bassist for the arty funk/rock band, TV on the Radio, died tragically at the age of 34 as a result of complications with lung cancer. At the time the band cancelled their shows in Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Minneapolis, having previously made an announcement about Smith on their official website in March 2011: “Gerard [Smith] is fortunate enough to have health insurance and is receiving excellent medical care,” the announcement read. “Already we have seen dramatic results. Combine that with Gerard’s legendarily wilful disposition and it might just be cancer that has the problem. We appreciate your concern and support for Gerard and his family.” But shortly after that the following passage appeared on the band’s website: “We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer. Gerard passed away the morning of April 20, 2011. We will miss him terribly.” Smith joined the band in 2005, contributing to albums ‘Return to CookieMountain‘, and ‘Dear Science‘ in 2008, which Rolling Stone magazine named Album of the Year. Lung cancer is a vitriolic disease most often associated with smoking, however, it can also be caused by other cancers spreading throughout the body. According to cancerhelp.org.uk, “The second most important risk factor for lung cancer is exposure to radon gas. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep out of the soil. Other, less important risk factors include air pollution, exposure to certain chemicals, previous lung disease, family history of lung cancer, past cancer treatment and having poor immunity. In some people who get lung cancer there is no obvious risk factor.” Sadly, just not smoking isn’t enough to prevent this disease. Someone dying in their mid-thirties, with the clichéd ‘so much to live for’ is an obvious tragedy but it’s also a reminder that we should all live as healthily as we possibly can and squeeze as much joy out of every moment of every day as possible. Say no to television, spectator sports, and activities that destroy our health or provide only fake pleasure in faux worlds such as taking drugs, drinking, gambling or gaming – that’s not living. Let’s stop obsessing over our looks and start obsessing over our souls, and like the saying goes, ‘live everyday as if it was your last and explore every moment like it’s your first.’ Turn your computer off now, kiss your husband, tickle your grandma, walk in the woods, play with your dog, pick a peach from a tree and eat it, dangle your toes in a river. Revel in the moment and realise you’re alive. If I had my life over… If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones. You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies. ~ Nadine Stair
Sharon Osbourne is more famous for not being famous than anything else. She became the wife of 70s rocker and former Black Sabbath front man, Ozzy Osbourne, in 1982 after being his manager for three years. Nowadays she’s a TV presenter, pundit and advocate of weight loss.
The couple built a good life together, having three children and a somewhat regular normal life given the circumstances but when MTV cam knocking and ‘The Osbournes’ hit the airwaves, the families ‘normal’ life was exposed to the world and the bawdy family became the staple for many TV viewers.
It was Sharon spoke to MTV and invited them along to talk about reality show that would capture the everyday minutiae of an otherwise quite ordinary family.
MTV aired the first episode of ‘The Osbournes’ on March 5, 2002 and on the back of it the whole family catapulted to fame; the public ultimately having to endure four years of family disputes, teenage tantrums and enormous egos.
Among the more dramatic highlights of the show came jus a few months into the first season when Sharon was diagnosed with colon cancer (also called ‘colorectal cancer’)which had spread to her lymph nodes.
She was given a 33 percent chance of survival by doctors but despite the grim prognosis, Sharon was insistent that MTV cameras continue to document the family’s daily life and capture her journey through the illness and subsequent treatment.
She eventually underwent surgery to remove the cancer and that was followed by a course of chemotherapy. As a result she suffered hair loss and donned a wig to keep up appearances.
The whole cancer episode took a huge toll on the family and Ozzy admitted that he nearly fell apart during her treatment. Their son Jack suffered from deep depression which led to a suicide attempt.
Since being declared cancer free, Sharon has been back in front of cameras, hosting a myriad of shows including ‘The Sharon Osbourne Show’, ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Rock of Love: Charm School’. In March of 2009 a new variety show called ‘Osbournes: Reloaded’ was launched and aired in the United States.
Sharon is no stranger to the surgeon’s knife and she freely admits to undergoing extensive cosmetic surgery. Among her remodelling she has had rhytidectomy (a type of cosmetic surgery that involves removing wrinkles for a more youthful appearance), abdominoplasty (a procedure to give the abdomen a firmer appearance by removing excess skin and fat), as well as mastopexy, which is a breast augmentation. Her procedures totalled a whopping $500,000.
The list does not end there: in 1999 also underwent lap-band surgery, in which an adjustable band was wrapped around her stomach. This method – also called an ‘Adjustable Gastric Band’ – is used in obese people to shrink the size and volume of their stomachs, causing them to eat much less. Sharon lost 100 pounds through the procedure, but her weight troubles didn’t end there.
Always a little on the heavy side, she has attempted to countless weight loss ventures which led to yo-yo dieting and fluctuating weight. Despite the success of her lap-band surgery, she admitted she still suffered with eating disorders – namely bulimia.
Bulimics binge on food and induce a method of ridding themselves of food immediately thereafter. The most common type of bulimia involves patients self-inducing vomiting after a binge, but other methods include the use of enemas and laxatives. The ‘binge and purge method’ is extremely harmful to the body.
To say that Sharon Osbourne’s medical record is extensive would be an understatement, yet the witty, well-respected TV personality and matriarch of the kookiest family on television has proven her perseverance when facing pitfalls in regards to her health.
Charlton Heston is one of the most famous men in cinema. The actor, who got his big break in the early 1950s with hits like ‘Marc Antony’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’, helped shape the landscape of modern cinema. Some of his most successful movies include ‘Ben-Hur’, ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ and he is considered one of the most important actors in Hollywood’s history.
His career, however, stretched far beyond Tinsel Town and the world of glitz and glamor. His full-time days of acting over, Heston became interested in politics and was a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association [NRA]. He eventually became more conservative was sworn in as the President of the NRA in 1998 until he retired in 2003 after being diagnosed with symptoms related to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder and the most common form of dementia. It is far more serious than just losing memory – it is a progressively deteriorating and fatal brain disease. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells and is utterly degenerative leading to a total breakdown of memory, motor skills and brain functions. Where once sufferers could perform simple daily tasks with ease they become unable to do so.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Heston’s condition worsened and a few weeks before his death in April 2008, it was reported that he had reached the final stages of Alzheimer’s.
The actor and gun lover also battled with prostate cancer in 1998, and after receiving radiation therapy, was declared cancer free in 2000. It was then, after his ordeal with the illness that he realized he had an alcohol problem and sought treatment at a Utah rehab clinic for alcoholism.
According to several media reports, Melanie Griffiths chose to go to a Californian rehab facility voluntarily to control her addiction to alcohol and painkillers. It was reportedly part of a “routine plan that was thought up between her and her doctors years ago,” her representative says. Lindsay Lohan and Kirsten Dunst are among other patients who have sought treatment at Cirque Lodge where Griffiths underwent treatment.
Melanie was always adamant that it was her family, husband Antonio Banderas, 12-year-old daughter Stella, son Alexander (24) and daughter Dakota (19) who supported her through the most trying times. “Overcoming addictions is tough but it can be made easier if you have someone that can offer support. My husband and family supported me so much through this journey and continue to do so.”
“The reason Melanie checked in was her husband was demanding that she get clean and sober. He told her that if she didn’t get the help she needed it would be the end of their marriage.” reported Perez Hilton.
Many reports claimed that Melanie displayed symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and that her apparent need for her surroundings to be yellow is another factor in her bid to seek help.
While Melanie’s obsessive-compulsive symptoms are pure speculation by column-inch-filling desperados, her previous addictions to prescription medication, alcohol and cocaine are well-documented, with the star having sought treatment twice previously.
The first time she checked into rehab was for cocaine and alcohol abuse after her divorce from her second husband, Steven Bauer, in 1987. Of this time, she says: “What I did was drink myself to sleep at night.”
“If I wasn’t with someone, I was an unhappy girl.”
In 2000 she again went to rehab after becoming addicted to strong pain killers which she needed to ease a neck injury.
In 2009 she was seeking treatment again.
She shot to fame after her role in the 1988 film ‘Working Girl’, which saw her nominated for an Oscar for her feisty and alluring performance outshone that of fellow stars Sigourney Weaver and Harrison Ford. Melanie has been married four times, twice to the same man. She began dating Hollywood heavyweight Don Johnson – eight years her senior – when she was just 14 years old. The pair divorced six months after their wedding, which took place shortly after Melanie’s 18th. Five years later she married fellow actor Steven Bauer and the pair, who have a son together, divorced in 1987.
In 1989, after having finished rehab falling pregnant, she married ex-husband Don Johnson a second time but the marriage lasted only six years, Melanie walking away from Johnson due to his own problems with substance abuse.
In 1996 she married Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas, three years her junior. The couple have a daughter, Stella, and have publicly discussed their marital issues. She obsessed over her age and its effect on her looks, constantly worrying that Banderas would fall for one of his younger co-stars and leave her.
Jealousy reared its ugly head frequently throughout their relationship – all of it coming from her side. In a bid to retain her youthful good looks she has undergone plastic surgery. While she has never officially confirmed to having cosmetic surgery, the changes to her lips and eyes are undeniable. Many speculate she has had collagen implants as well as botox and a facelift. Rumours suggest that Banderas has since placed a ban on any further surgery and putting a lid on another obsession in the process.
Wild child Lindsay Lohan began her career at a very young age and made her acting debut in the American soap opera ‘Another World’ when she was 10. One year later she played the role of both sly identical twins in ‘The Parent Trap’. Her career continued to soar when she landed leading roles in movies like ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’, ‘Freaky Friday’, ‘Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen’ and ‘A Prairie Home Companion’. Then, in 2004, Lohan launched a pop career, releasing two albums that earned praise in the media.
But as with many child stars and with everything going for her, she began to capitulate in epic fashion. One moment he world of glitz and glamour lay at her feet, with movie roles and projects presented to her on a silver platter. She was in a relationship with ‘That 70s Show’ star Wilmer Valderrama, and it seemed as though nothing could ruin the success she had achieved.
Well, almost nothing.
Lohan discovered the excessive side of the celebrity world and began drinking and consuming drugs to cope with the pressure. The usually well-styled actress was beginning to show up in tabloid magazines with unflattering images of her stumbling out of nightclubs intoxicated, barely able to stand up. She also stumbled from one relationship to the next, her love life becoming one of the main subjects of tabloid journalism.
The paparazzi began to follow her everywhere she went, like so many vultures hoping to get the next drunken photo of the deteriorating star. In 2006 she began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for help with her addiction. Her antics ruined her reputation among Hollywood producers and directors and where she could once do no wrong, Lohan found herself struggling to land a role in anything.
She had her first stint in rehab in January 2007 at the Wonderland Clinic but after completing the 30-day stay she soon fell back into old habits.
In May 2007 she crashed her car and police found her in possession of cocaine. Further blood tests confirmed traces of the drug mixed with alcohol in her system and she was charged accordingly – driving under the influence of alcohol. She then checked into ‘Promises Treatment Center‘ for her second shot at rehabilitation. She left the clinic after a 45-day stay, but was again booked by police for driving under the influence of alcohol.
This led to a prolonged stay at the Cirque Lodge Treatment Center August and October 2007. During her time there she pleaded guilty to cocaine abuse and driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to one day in prison, 10 days of community service, three years of probation, and was also instructed to partake in an alcohol education program. She released a statement through her spokesperson saying: “It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs.”
Despite claims that she’s cleaned herself up, Lohan, has continued to appear in photographs consuming alcohol and many attribute her behaviour to the negative influence of DJane Samantha Ronson with whom she had a year long relationship.
Lindsay’s father Michael, who has himself battled addictions in the past, spoke out about his daughter’s addictions and his fears that she could end up dead. His tumultuous relationship with his daughter was covered heavily in the media but he vowed to help her, saying: ”I’m going to get her off the prescription drugs that she’s on. I hate it when people talk about illegal drug abuse because it’s not just drinking and illegal drugs that kill you. Prescription drugs can destroy and kill a person and are sometimes harder to stop. Look at Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson.”
While Michael did not mention which prescription drugs his daughter is taking, he did make his sentiments towards her health clear. “You know why Lindsay’s not acting in feature films right now? Because she can’t. Because the girl with all the talent is hidden and buried deep inside this fungus that’s grown because of the prescription drugs. She can’t be herself.”
Actress and TV host, Kirstie Alley, enjoyed her greatest television success in the 1980s and early 90s but she still hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the decades following her career.
In the early days, best remembered as Rebecca Howe in the hit series ‘Cheers’, she was almost a pin-up model. Her striking looks and slim figure were the focus of many viewers’ attention and she was much sought after because of it.
After the ‘Cheers’ days she enjoyed several years playing opposite John Travolta in the popular ‘Look Who’s Talking’ trilogy and further success with three years in ‘Veronica’s Closet’. But in the years following her pinnacle as a TV ‘hottie’ she slipped into an ongoing battle with her weight and the spotlight shifted from her charm and good looks to her increasing dress size.
After her active TV career ended, Alley ballooned and she was plagued by the paparazzi who were quick to publish very unflattering photos of her in the media (yes, just as we have).
At the time she weighed over 200 lbs (over 90kg) and was declared clinically obese. In 2004 she admitted to battling her severe weight issues by becoming the spokesperson for Jenny Craig, a weight loss and management company.
In 2006, after following the Jenny Craig program for two years, Alley appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show in a bikini to show off her success and the American public lapped it up. Her achievement was celebrated in the United States and gave hope to a growing nation of obese couch potatoes who were searching for a cure to their own weight issues.
Although painful at the time, Kirstie says that one particularly hideous photo of her in a tabloid publication made her realize it was time to do something about her excessive weight and take better care of her health in the process.
The successful weight loss didn’t last though and after she walked away from the role of spokesperson for Jenny Craig piled on the weight once again.
During an interview with Oprah she said: ”When you’re a spokesperson for a weight loss company … somebody weighs you every week. It’s pressure but it’s good pressure. I do better if I have some pressure on me,”
“When I didn’t have that anymore … I just said, ‘I’m going to cut myself some slack.’ Big mistake.”
She stopped weighing herself and it was almost 18 months before she stepped up onto the plate again. The worst aspect was the guilt she felt, thinking that she let a lot of people down, people who looked up to her and admired her strength of will.
She admits that she has never really had control over her weight but says the best thing that came out of trying to lose weight and battling the bulge was quitting smoking.
John Goodman first rose to prominence as the sarcastic, chubby, working class father and foil to Roseanne Barr in the 1990s hit TV show ‘Roseanne’. As a big man, John was well aware of the implications to his health, especially as he got older; he knew he ran the risk of heart disease, diabetes and worse. Never one to shirk from a fight, he decided to do something about his oversized physique and set about a drastic weight loss program that would eventually reap healthy benefits and draw compliments and plaudits from many quarters.
He premiered his new, svelte self at the AFI Life Achievement Award for Mike Nichols and shortly afterwards photos of the new-look actor found their way onto the pages of a glut of magazines and websites.
His transformation was both striking and inspirational and during an appearance on ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ shortly after showing off his new body on the red carpet, the host pressed him on the thorny issue of his peak weight.
“Plenty … pushing 400 … somewhere up around there.”
John went on to explain how for years, especially during his work on ‘Roseanne’, his body had to endure a vicious cycle of gaining and shedding weight.
“I’d get off of ‘Roseanne’ every spring. I’d lose 60 lbs every spring. Then I got too fond of the barley corn… I’d gain it back and then some, every year.”
The exact amount of weight Goodman lost remains unknown and unconfirmed, some media outlets claim to know that he lost as much as 200lbs!
But for John that’s just not enough and his desire to lose even more weight was something he was all too happy to discuss.
“[I’m] getting a lot of exercise, I feel great. It’s going to be an ongoing process for the rest of my life.”
The lives of celebrities are often perceived as easy or great by the public but they’re not always a bed of roses. Like any non-famous person they too have to deal with difficulties but with the added pressure of the public eye on them and perhaps few had it as rough as James Brown – the Godfather of Soul.
Brown stepped into the limelight in the late 50s and quickly drew admirers who loved to see his all-energy performances. During the 1960s he became legendary and his success remained at a peak until he passed away.
Known for his hard work and dedication, James joined the ‘Famous Flames’ in 1955 and recorded several smash hits, including ‘Please Please Please’, ‘Try Me’ and ‘(Do the) Mashed Potatoes’.
If the previous years helped establish him as a top act, his journey towards real success started with ‘Live at Apollo’ in 1963 where he wowed crowds with hits such as ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’, ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’, both of which were chart topping successes and became his signature tunes.
In the 1980s he bridged the gap between music and film when he appeared in classic flicks like ‘The Blues Brothers’, ‘Doctor Detroit’, ‘Rocky IV’ and ‘Miami Vice’, all of which helped revive his flagging career. It was his versatility and determination that saw him strive for success in each of his ventures.
Despite his film success the years preceding his Hollywood bow were fraught with personal difficulties. Throughout 1982 he was all but lost to drug addiction and his escapades with the psychosis-inducing ‘PCP’ or ‘Angel Dust’; a chemical compound which gives insane highs and endows the user with almost superhuman strength and pain resistance, were well covered by the press.
In 1988 he was arrested after a high-speed car chase and for reportedly assaulting an officer, as well as drug-related charges. He was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison, but released after only three.
By the time of his release he had become a shadow of his former self and was still gripped by drug addiction. Something had to give and he eventually checked himself into a drug rehabilitation centre where he underwent intensive treatment for 90 days.
Brown was a new man after the treatment and he put all the drugs, high-speed chases and shotgun incidents behind him. Despite his new approach to life his health was always a concern, especially as he was diagnosed with diabetes at a very young age. Perhaps the years of drug use took its toll on him and played some part in his development of prostate cancer but again, with treatment and care he successfully overcame the illness.
After so many music hits, numerous awards, film appearances and publicly aired mayhem, James Brown passed away on Christmas day, 2006, from a heart failure brought on my complications with pneumonia.
For an age, Drew Carey fell into ‘the cute and cuddly’ category; a status which is as cursed as it is revered. The pudgy, bespectacled comedian was always overweight but at 52-years-old ‘The Price Is Right’ host realized how much of an effect his obesity was having on his health. Drew was diagnosed with diabetes and even underwent angioplasty in 2001, at the age of 43, to pry open clogged arteries in order to allow blood to pass through properly.
“It sucks being fat, you know.”
“I was diabetic with type 2 diabetes.”
But health wasn’t the only factor behind his weight loss – his new family were a huge part of the reason he shed an incredible 80lbs.
“My fiance has a 5-year old, and wow, I’d love to see him graduate, I’d love to be able play with him without getting tired, enjoy my life and watch him grow.”
After losing the 80lbs, Drew happily announced he was “not diabetic anymore. No medication needed.”
But what was his weight loss secret and how did he shed 80lbs in such a short space of time?
“No carbs,” was the long and short of it. “I have cheated a couple times, but basically no carbs, not even a cracker. No bread at all. No pizza, nothing. No corn, no beans, no starches of any kind. Egg whites in the morning or like, Greek yogurt, cut some fruit.”
Drew also claims his new diet came hand in hand with working out. He’s been doing “lots of cardio.”
“About 45 minutes of cardio, at least 45 minutes of cardio. I’ve been kind of lazy like lately, so I’m not doing it six days a week, but I will be for this next month.”
After dropping several dress sizes, Drew said it was motivation to keep going, and intends to lose another 10 lbs so he can fit into a size 32.
His diet of choice is similar to the ‘Atkins Diet’ and although that proved very popular during the early 2000s it has since been proved as a false hope as when people return to eating carbs, the weight returns with them.
Successful weight loss comes through a balanced diet and exercise. Not over eating, cutting out sugar and eating plenty of healthy green vegetables is a step in the right direction. The human body needs carbohydrates and healthy fats but not so much proteins so by cutting out carbs you are effectively starving the body.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, famous composer and the brains behind no less than 13 successful musicals including Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Starlight Express, is celebrated worldwide and his stageshows are revered across the globe.
The British-born composer and producer, who penned his first piece at the age of nine, has received countless awards, including an Oscar, seven Tony Awards and three Grammy Awards for works such as ‘Jesus Christ: Superstar’.
But in 2010 Llloyd Webber’s spokespeople released a written statement confirming the producer was suffering from prostate cancer which read as follows: “The condition is in its very early stages. Andrew is now undergoing treatment and expects to be fully back at work before the end of the year.”
At the time, Lloyd Webber was releasing the long-awaited sequel to ‘Phantom of the Opera’, entitled ‘Phantom: Love Never Dies’ 2010. He began writing the story in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2007 that he started working on the music for the show.
The composer, born 22nd March, 1948, had a short stay in hospital, receiving initial treatment for prostate cancer but complications arose over time. Webber was keen to explore alternative therapies to treat the cancer but succumbed to doctor’s wishes after they advised that a prostatectomy would almost guarantee a 100% success.
The surgery was successful and Webber made a full recovery but has since resigned himself to a life without sex due to impotence caused by the operation.
The prostate is a gland located in the male reproductive system, in between the bladder and the rectum. Prostate literally stands for “the guardian” and its primary function is to help make and store seminal fluid in addition to producing an alkaline secretion that is ejaculated with semen.
Prostate cancer is when the cells of the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably, and typically affects men over the age of 50.