When terrible diseases and medical conditions sweep the globe they don’t care whether their victims are political leaders, singers, actors or ordinary people.
A look through the history of the worst pandemics shows us that there have been many famous victims and survivors of them.
Walt Disney and Other Spanish Flu Survivors
If you think of someone who was around in 1918 then there is a fair chance that they got infected with Spanish Flu in the global 1918 flu pandemic. This is because a third of the entire population of the world got infected, with up to 100 million people of them dying. It was possibly the worst pandemic in history but some famous people survived it. For example, a 16 year old Walt Disney got sick just before being sent out with to Europe with the Red Cross. Just imagine the world if Disney had succumbed to the disease before bringing so much joy to the world. Another notable survivor of the Spanish Flu outbreak was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was Assistant Secretary when he fell ill on his way home from Europe. US President Woodrow Wilson got violently sick too. German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II also contracted the flu virus and future Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I was another survivor, as was King Alonso XIII of Spain.
The Famous Spanish Flu Victims
The Brazilian president Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves was one of the noteworthy victims of the Spanish Flu outbreak. He was elected to the post of President for the second time with an overwhelming majority of over 99% in the 1918 general elections. However, he fell sick and died before he could take office. South African Prime Minister Louis Botha, pianist Felix Arndt, baseball player Larry Chappell and French actress Gaby Deslys were among other victims in this worldwide health crisis. With the First World War raging and resources limited across the world there was little scope for investigations or for clinical research to try and stop the deadly advance of this pandemic.
The High Profile Bubonic Plague Victims
This was another of the world’s most deadly pandemics, so it is no surprise to find that a number of high profile victims were claimed in the various outbreaks. For example, Anne of Bohemia was the wife of King Richard II and the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. She is credited with making sidesaddle riding popular among women but died of the Black Death in 1394. Pope Pelagius II was another victim, as he died in 590 in one of the earliest outbreaks. This Pope was known for his hard-line views on the celibacy of priests and was one of many victims when Rome was savaged by the plague. Joan Plantagenet was also known as Joan of England. She was the daughter of King Edward III and she was sent off to France to marry King Pedro of Castille in 1348, before the pandemic had reached England. She fell victim to the pandemic while travelling and died before arriving to her final destination.
Freddie, Rock and Other Famous AIDS Victims
There have been some extremely high profile victims of the AIDs virus since it was first discovered back in the early 1980s. One of the most famous cases was, of course. Freddie Mercury. The flamboyant Queen singer died in 1991, just a day after telling the world he had the disease and after years of newspaper rumours about it. Another celebrity AIDS death that shook the world was that of Rock Hudson. The actor starred in dozens of films and was once the highest paid actor on TV. His death in 1985 was one of the first cases of a major star dying from an AIDs related illness. His death is said to have helped raise the profile of AIDS and help raise more charity money in the battle for research into this disease. Other famous victims of AIDS have been pianist Liberace, actor Anthony Perkins and dancer Rudolf Nureyev. These days there is a lot of good work done on finding medicine to help HIV sufferers. This is just one example of how medical research is helping, with clinical trials for dementia, diabetes, depression and other conditions all increasing our knowledge in these important areas.
Those Living with HIV
With around 35 million people around planet living with HIV it is clear that it is something that affects quite a few famous people. One of the most notable cases is that of the Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha. This Anglican priest from Uganda became the first religious leader in Africa to announce to the world that he had tested positive for HIV. The work that he has since done in helping other sufferers has led to him receiving an important peace prize. Figure skater Rudy Galindo and actors Mark Patton and Jim J Bullock are others who live with HIV. As many sufferers don’t reveal this condition or don’t even know that they have it, it seems certain that there are more famous HIV sufferers that we don’t yet even know of.