When it comes to celebrities or famous personalities we tend to think of their lives full of luxury, pleasure, and ease. Though most celebrities indeed have amenities and luxuries which most of us can only imagine, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are living a pain-less or disease-free life. There have been many popular personalities that had suffered from many diseases but let’s narrow the list down to celebrities with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Disease.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Disease or ALS is a type of progressive motor neuron disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that ultimately leads to loss of muscle control and in later stages, it also affects the nerves that regulate breathing. The way it hinders the function is that it alters the neurons so that they stop sending signals to the muscles, this results in the brain being unable to control the movement and this continually weakens the muscles that are wasted away. According to the statistics, a person diagnosed with ALS lives for about 4 years, however, exceptional cases are always to be seen. Various causes may lead to ALS, here are some of them.
- Mechanical or electrical trauma
- Prolonged exposure to agricultural chemicals
- High levels of heavy metal in the body
- Immune system attacking body cells and killing nerve cells
- Imbalances causing a high level of glutamate
- Inherited, around 5-10% of the ALS cases are familial
Celebrities with ALS
These are some of the most well-known personalities that contracted ALS.
- Lou Gehrig: We cannot start this list without mentioning this baseball star and ALS is sometimes also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He played in 17 seasons for the New York Yankees, he was renowned for this hard-hitting ability that earned him the name of The Iron Horse. He also set many records that were not broken for 56 years. In the year 1939, he took himself out of the season which stunned both the fans and players, it was only confirmed later that he was suffering from ALS and he passed away in 1941 just 10 days before his 38th birthday.
- Ezzard Charles: An American boxer and the world heavyweight champion that was also known as Cinncinati Cobra, he was quite established and was known for his slick defenses and precision that earned him this name. He was also considered as one of the best lightweight boxers and his career showed this clearly with 95 wins, 25 losses, a single draw and he had also defeated multiple hall of fame boxers. He was also the neighbor of Mohammad Ali for some time. Unfortunately, ALS struck him in 1968, and he lost the function of his legs and soon his entire body. He died in 1975 in a nursing home.
- Stephen Hawking: Undoubtedly one of the greatest physicists of the modern world that gave us many theories, especially in the realm of time travel. He also discovered that black holes indeed decay at an appallingly slow pace and this is known as Hawking radiation, along with this he discussed many aspects of physics that are considered invaluable. One fascinating thing about Hawking’s ALS was that he was an exceptional case, where most people dies within a couple of years after diagnosis, he was diagnosed at the age of 21 but continued to live until 76. A specialized computer and voice box were used for Hawking to communicate and share his genius with the world.
- Mao Zedong: Also known as Chairman Mao, he was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. He is perhaps one of the most controversial figures, where some people regard him as the greatest, while others despise him but it cannot be denied he was an important personality of the 20th century. His ideas, political policies, and theories collectively are known as Maoism. He was diagnosed with ALS in 1974 and was dying slowly as he was losing his motor function and died in the year 1976, however, mystery still surrounds his medical conditions.
- Jon Arthur Stone: If you were born in the mid-90s then childhood was filled with great memories of classic shows such as Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and the Big Bird, all of these were created by American writers and producer Jon Stone and he also became director of the famous show Sesame Street from 1969 to 1994. He also won 18 Emmy Awards and to this day is regarded as one of the best children’s television writers. Sadly, he passed in 1997 which was later confirmed was due to ALS.
These are some of the most recognized people that were loved by millions and respect by the same number of people if not more. Diseases like ALS goes to show that it does not matter how much fame one posses or how much money one can earn, ultimately all have to bid their farewell to life, for some individuals it may be instantly for others it might be painful, and long.