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Charlton Heston’s decade of demise includes a battle with alcoholism, prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease

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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 shaped the landscape of modern cinema. Some of his most successful movies include ‘Ben-Hur’, ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’. He was inevitably one of the most important actors in Hollywood 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. Initially a Democrat, Heston became more conservative over the years. Eventually he became the President of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in 1998, also acting as its spokesman, until he retired in 2003 after being diagnosed with symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder and is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is much more serious than just losing memory – it is a progressively deteriorating and fatal brain disease. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells and gets progressively worse over the years so that a patient will no longer know or remember how to perform simple daily tasks they have done their whole lives. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Heston’s condition progressively deteriorated, and a few weeks before his death in April 2008, it was reported that he had reached the final stages of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is however not the only illness Heston has had to battle. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998, and after receiving radiation therapy, was declared cancer free in 2000. It was then, after his ordeal with cancer, that he realized he had an alcohol problem, and sought treatment at a Utah rehab clinic for alcoholism.

Other celebrities who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s include Ronald Reagan.

Many celebrities have addictions, read on to find out more about celebrities with addictions.

Celebrities who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer include:

Source attribution: Image taken from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:CharltonHeston1981.jpg, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense

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