Cancer is sometimes at strike indiscriminately, and can even affect some of the most famous people in the world. This is a list of famous people who died of cancer, including photos, birth dates, professions, and other information. You might also be interested in celebrities who were diagnosed with cancer before 40 and famous cancer survivors. These celebrities who died by cancer are listed alphabetically and include the famous cancer victims’ hometown and biographical info about them when available. Famous people with cancer who later passed away from the disease include actress Farrah Fawcett, Lyn Nofziger, George Low, and more. These notable cancer deaths include modern and long-gone famous men and women, from politicians to religious leaders to writers.
Cancer is a disease that ravages millions of people every year, and unfortunately for these athletes, actors, musicians, and other celebrities, it doesn’t matter how much money or fame you possess. There are plenty of well-known names who have succumbed to the disease, like Steve Jobs, Bob Marley, Ronald Reagan, singer David Bowie, and Frank Zappa. It’s always tragic when an actor dies of cancer, so we hope for those who are currently dying of any major illnesses.
Featuring recently dead movie stars and many more,
Everyone on this list has cancer as a cause of death somewhere in their public records, even if it was just one contributing factor for their death.
1. Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett (born Ferrah Leni Fawcett; February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) was an American actress and artist. A four-time Emmy Award nominee and six-time Golden Globe Award nominee, Fawcett rose to international fame when she posed for her iconic red swimsuit poster – which became the best selling pin-up poster in history – and starred as private investigator Jill Munroe in the first season of the television series Charlie’s Angels (1976–1977). In 1996, she was ranked No. 26 on TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV stars of All-Time”. Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006; the 2009 NBC documentary Farrah’s Story chronicled her battle with the disease. She posthumously earned her fourth Emmy nomination for her work as a producer on the documentary.
Fawcett died at age 62 on June 25, 2009, the same day American singer Michael Jackson died, at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, with O’Neal and Stewart by her side.
A private funeral was held in Los Angeles on June 30, 2009 with her son Redmond permitted to leave his California detention center to attend the funeral, where he gave the first reading. Fawcett is buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
2. David Robert Jones
David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie was an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a figure in popular music for over five decades, becoming acclaimed by critics and other musicians for his innovative work. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, his music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In the UK, he was awarded nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, releasing eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and seven gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Born in Brixton, South London, Bowie developed an interest in music as a child, eventually studying art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. “Space Oddity” became his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of his single “Starman” and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975, Bowie’s style shifted radically towards a sound he characterised as “plastic soul”, initially alienating many of his UK devotees but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth and released Station to Station. The following year, he further confounded musical expectations with the electronic-inflected album Low (1977), the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that would come to be known as the “Berlin Trilogy”. “Heroes” (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise.
On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public. The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to the progression of the disease. He noted that Bowie had kept working during the illness.
3. Walter Elias.
Walter Elias “Walt” Disney, born December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ub Iwerks, Walt developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. As the studio grew, Disney became more adventurous, introducing synchronized sound, full-color three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons and technical developments in cameras. The results, seen in features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Fantasia, Pinocchio (both 1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942), furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed after World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), the latter of which received five Academy Awards
Disney had been a heavy smoker since World War I. He did not use cigarettes with filters, and had smoked a pipe as a young man. In November 1966, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and treated with cobalt therapy. On November 30 he felt unwell and was taken to St. Joseph Hospital where, on December 15, ten days after his 65th birthday, he died of circulatory collapse caused by lung cancer. Disney’s remains were cremated two days later, and his ashes interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California
Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley, OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim, blending mostly reggae, ska and rocksteady in his compositions. Starting out in 1963 with the group the Wailers, he forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that would later resonate with audiences worldwide. The Wailers would go on to release some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
After the Wailers disbanded in 1974, Marley pursued a solo career upon his relocation to England that culminated in the release of the album Exodus in 1977, which established his worldwide reputation and produced his status as one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, with sales of more than 75 million records. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks. It included four UK hit singles: “Exodus”, “Waiting in Vain”, “Jamming”, and “One Love”. In 1978 he released the album Kaya, which included the hit singles “Is This Love” and “Satisfy My Soul”.
In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe. Contrary to urban legend, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football match that year, but was instead a symptom of the already-existing cancer. Marley turned down his doctors’ advice to have his toe amputated (which would have hindered his performing career), citing his religious beliefs, and instead the nail and nail bed were removed and a skin graft taken from his thigh to cover the area. Despite his illness, he continued touring and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980.
The album Uprising was released in May 1980. The band completed a major tour of Europe, where it played its biggest concert to 100,000 people in Milan. After the tour Marley went to America, where he performed two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Uprising Tour.
Marley’s last concert occurred at the Stanley Theater (now called The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 23 September 1980. The only known photographs from the show were featured in Kevin Macdonald’s documentary film Marley.
Shortly afterwards, Marley’s health deteriorated as the cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Marley sought treatment at the Bavarian clinic of Josef Issels, where he received a controversial type of cancer therapy (Issels treatment) partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances. After fighting the cancer without success for eight months Marley boarded a plane for his home in Jamaica.
While Marley was flying home from Germany to Jamaica, his vital functions worsened. After landing in Miami, Florida, he was taken to the hospital for immediate medical attention. Marley died on 11 May 1981 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital), aged 36. The spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain caused his death. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life.”
5. Steve Jobs
Steven Paul “Steve” Job February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur, businessman, inventor, and industrial designer. He was the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Inc.; CEO and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company’s board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.
Jobs was born in San Francisco and adopted at birth; he was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s. Jobs briefly attended Reed College in 1972 before dropping out. He then decided to travel through India in 1974 seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism. Jobs’s declassified FBI report stated that an acquaintance knew that Jobs had used the illegal drugs marijuana and LSD while he was in college. Jobs once told a reporter that taking LSD was “one of the two or three most important things” he did in his life.
Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003 and died on October 5, 2011, of respiratory arrest related to the tumor.
Researched and compiled by :