July 26, 1956: John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. To the men and women of America, he appeared to be the epitome of good health. Young and handsome, strapping and athletic, Kennedy gave little indication he had been sickly from a very young age.
Kennedy's health problems began was he was just 2 years old and contracted the measles. Immediately after, he came down with a near-fatal bout of scarlet fever. He also suffered from whooping cough, diphtheria, and other respiratory infections as a child. Before finishing college, Kennedy suffered colitis, appendicitis, Addison's disease, jaundice, severe back problems and early onset osteoporosis. By the mid-1950s his back problems became so severe, he could barely walk and often used crutches in private. By the time he became president in 1961, he was in constant pain and needed daily injections of pain killers, including Demerol, just to function. He was assassinated in 1963.