Ways Asbestos has Affected Celebrities and Other Famous People

Asbestos is a killer and it shows no partiality for celebrities. Multiple well-known people have died from asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, while others have been placed at risk for future complications.

At Risk

In 2008, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were encouraged to seek medical attention due to asbestos exposure onboard a ship known as the MV Freewinds. The four had spent time on the ship during celebrations before large quantities of blue asbestos were discovered in the ship’s insulation. Like other types of asbestos, blue asbestos (also known as Crocidolite) is known to cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma  decades following exposure.

Deaths

Merlin Olson – In 2009, professional football player, NFL commentator and Hall-of-Famer, Merlin Olson, received a diagnosis of asbestos-related mesothelioma. Olson is best known for his 15-year tenure with the Los Angeles Rams and his 14 years in the Pro Bowl. Later, he began acting in Little House on the Prairie and starred in NBC’s Father Murphey. Because of mesothelioma’s aggressive nature, he only lived a short while before passing away in March 2010.

Paul Gleason – Best known for his movie roles in The Breakfast Club and Die Hard, Paul Gleason was a film favorite for devious and unpleasant character roles. Though he performed in more than 140 movies and TV shows during his life, his first jobs during his teen years were in construction, where it is believed he was exposed to asbestos. He developed pleural mesothelioma in his 60s before passing away in 2006 at the age of 67.

Malcolm McLaren – musical artist and manager, Malcolm McLaren, is partially responsible for bringing hip-hop music into the United Kingdom. McLaren boasted a successful solo career and managed famous bands, such as The Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls. The mesothelioma he was diagnosed with in October 2009 proved to be fatal when he passed away after a short six month battle with the disease in April 2010.

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