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Famous People with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Famous People with ALS
(Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

ALS does not discriminate. Anyone can wind up with this debilitating disease. Lou Gehrig, the famous baseball player and for whom the disease is commonly referred to, was one of the first people to be diagnosed with this disease.

ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neuromuscular disease that affects both women and men although men do seem to have a slightly higher incidence.

Lou Gehrig

The disease is debilitating, mostly fatal and there is no cure for it. ALS is a disease that affects all the muscles of the body.

ALS interrupts the signal that the brain sends to the muscles to function. This interruption can quickly cause the muscles to atrophy and not respond to stimuli. Considering that the heart and the lungs are both muscles the interruption inside the message center of the brain, can be deadly.

There is no specific time frame for the disease. Some people live with the disease for a decade while others die within months. There is very little still known about the causes of ALS, so a cure is still a ways off.

Stephen Hawking

Famous People

There are some famous people that are affected by ALS. Stephan Hawking, called the smartest man alive, has ALS. The professor and his scholar partner are credited with work on Einstein’s theory of relativity. He is wheel chair bound with limited use of his limbs but has maintained that he does not feel bitter about the disease. He just accepts his lot in life and is grateful that his mind is not affected.

Former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci lost his battle with ALS in 2001. “Catfish” Hunter a professional baseball pitcher was also affected by this disease which took his life only a year after being diagnosed. Hunter, a baseball hall of famer, won over 200 games and was the highest paid baseball player of his time.

Kevin Turner a professional football player with the New England Patriots was diagnosed with ALS. Academy Award winning actor David Niven passed away in 1983 from ALS.

Lou Gehrig is one of the most famous people with this disease. He eventually was left wheelchair bound and lost his life to the disease only a few years after being diagnosed.

Jazz guitarist Charles Mingus had ALS although he died from a heart attack before the disease took its toll. Actor Lane Smith who played in many roles on both television and on the big screen had this terrible disease and died in 2005.

David Niven

More on the List

Here is an additional list of celebrities and other famous notables with ALS including Mao Zedong, Lead Belly, Don Revie, Jason Becker, Dieter Dengler, Fokko du Cloux, Stanley Sadie, Hans Keller, Jacob Javits, Michael Zaslow, Chris Pendergast, Dan Toler, Dennis Day, Steve Gleason, Augie Nieto, Mike Porcaro, Henry Wallace, Maxwell Taylor, Jon Stone, Dmitri Shostakovich, Morrie Schwartz, Dennis Day, Glenn Montgomery, Eric Scoggins, Jeff Julian, Ezzard Charles, Charlie Wedemeyer, George Yardley, O.J. Brigance, Mary Valastro, Pete Duranko and Augie Nieto.

This disease does not distinguish between the famous and the not so famous. ALS is often misdiagnosed. The only treatment available is to treat the symptoms. From sports greats to politicians no one is safe.

Genetic Link

Current research has indicated that there may be a genetic link for the disease. But more research has to be conducted to be able to pinpoint the cause so that an effective treatment can be developed.