The Most Famous Men With Thyroid Diseaseby Mary Shomon Patient Advocate
Many people think thyroid disease only affects women. While women make up the majority of people with thyroid conditions, some of the estimated 20 million-plus Americans with a thyroid problem are men, including men from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and sports. Get to know the 10 most-famous men with thyroid disease.
Sen. Bernie Sanders
It's not clear when former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was diagnosed, but like many older men, Sen. Sanders has hypothyroidism — an underactive thyroid — and is treated with levothyroxine. While Sanders hasn't spoken about it publicly, the information was released in his official campaign medical letter during the 2016 primaries.
Rockstar Liam Gallagher
Soccer legend Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima
Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2007 at age 30. In announcing his retirement from soccer in 2011, Ronaldo said:
“I found out that I was suffering from a problem that is called hypothyroidism, a complaint which slows your metabolism, and that to control it I would have to take medication which is considered illegal in football. A lot of people should feel bad about their comments on my weight: I just wanted to explain that, now that I have reached the end."
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder
Dan Snyder — the controversial businessman, billionaire, and owner of the Washington Redskins football team — was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2001 and underwent a thyroidectomy. Eight years, later, Snyder said this of his experience with thyroid cancer:
“It sure ages you and matures you pretty quickly. I joked with my friends when I got cancer; I felt like Superman and now they took my cape.”
President George H.W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 1991 after an episode of atrial fibrillation. According to his personal physician, Dr. Burton Lee, former President Bush was “bothered” by the initial uncertainty over the cause of the heart problem but was “very gratified by finding out that we had determined a cause.” Interestingly, his late wife, First Lady Barbara Bush, lived with Graves’ disease for decades as well.
Rock legend Rod Stewart
“Any slip [of the surgeon's knife] would have been ‘Goodnight, Vienna’ as far as my career was concerned. But the operation was a complete success ... no chemotherapy was required — which, in turn, meant there was no risk that I’d lose my hair. And let’s face it: If we’re ranking threats to the survival of my career, losing my hair would be second only to losing my voice.”
Reality-TV star Tarek El Moussa
Realtor-turned-reality star Tarek El Moussa has been on HGTV’s hit show, “Flip or Flop,” for years. El Moussa was lucky that one observant fan, registered nurse Ryan Reade, noticed a lump on El Moussa’s neck in 2013, and contacted the show’s producers. After the thyroid nodule was biopsied, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After the diagnosis, El Moussa said:
“We're gonna fight through this cancer, 'cause the second you slow down is the second it gets scary and you start getting depressed.”
Championship golfer Ben Crenshaw
Ben Crenshaw won the 1984 Masters Golf Tournament, but later that year, noticed that he was losing weight rapidly, and experiencing muscle weakness, shaky hands, and red, irritated eyes. He saw a doctor in late 1985 and was diagnosed with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.
“I have never suffered as much in my life as when I had this problem and didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't know I could feel that bad, and I don't want to feel that way again.”
Film critic Roger Ebert
Beloved film critic and writer Roger Ebert was diagnosed with both thyroid cancer and salivary gland cancer in 2002. His cancers resulted in the loss of his lower jaw in 2006, seriously impairing his ability to eat, and leaving him disfigured and unable to speak. Ebert, however, continued to write for another seven years, until his death in 2013. Ebert said:
“When I am writing my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.”