Celebrity Medical Nightmares

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    Aug. 5, 2007: Michael J. Fox, seen here with his wife actress Tracy Pollan, became famous for his role of Alex P. Keaton in the TV series "Family Ties," in the 1980s. He made a huge return to TV with the show "Spin City" in the 1990s. However, his comeback was cut short when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He retired from the show in its third season, but has made guest star appearances on various TV shows since then. He spends most of his time serving as an advocate for the disease.

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    Feb. 20, 2002: Singer/songwriter Anastacia was just 29 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2003. It was a nightmare for the singer considering that breast cancer is extremely rare in women under the age of 30. In fact, of the 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, just 25,000 will be under the age of 40 and most of those will be between the ages of 35 and 39. The singer has since recovered and has developed the Anastacia Fund through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Other celebrities who have battled breast cancer and won include Christina Applegate, Cynthia Nixon, Kylie Minogue and Sheryl Crow.

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    Bret Michaels, 44, the lead singer of Poison, and star of his own reality show, "Rock of Love," was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6. Micheals has described his diagnosis at such a young age as a "blessing in disguise," because it has always been with him. During a show at Madison Square Garden (playing there was Michael's dream), a missed meal made him pass out on stage, forcing him to tell his fans about the disease. Though disappointed his dream of performing at MSG was cut short, he says he learned a lot from the experience. These days, Michaels takes insulin three times a day, and keeps orange juice and Gatorade nearby when he performs in case his blood sugar becomes too low.

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    Farrah Fawcett, who is most famous for her role as Jill Munroe on "Charlie's Angels," was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. She tried chemotherapy and surgery, and even traveled to Germany for "aggressive" treatments. However, by 2009, the cancer had spread to her liver. She has since stopped treatments and recently starred in a documentary about her struggles with the disease.

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    Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, part of the 1990s singing trio TLC, was was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia as a child. One in 12 people of African American descent have the homozygous recessive trait, and both of Watkins' parents have it. The blood disorder means that red blood cells assume an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape, and result in various complications such as stroke, jaundice, chronic renal failure, chronic pain problems and low immunity. Watkins has been in and out of the hospital her whole life and, at the height of TLC fame, was forced to skip a number of concerts and recording sessions due to the disease.

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    Oct. 24, 2007: Patrick Swayze, seen here with his wife, Lisa Niemi, made females everywhere swoon with his hit movie "Dirty Dancing." Despite a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in early 2008, Swayze continued to film his comeback TV series "The Beast," which aired on A&E. The future of the show is uncertain as Swayze continues to fight this often fatal disease.

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    January 2009: In May 2008, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, was serving his eighth term as U.S. senator and helping future president Barrack Obama on his presidential campaign. The 77-year-old showed no signs of slowing down when he was diagnosed with brain tumor called a glioma on his left parietal lobe after he suffered several seizures at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port days earlier. With seemingly no plans to retire, Kennedy continues to make several public appearances and speaks in front of Congress.

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    Feb. 15, 1997: Singer and actress Annette Funicello, 67, first became popular as a member of "The Mickey Mouse Club." She later went on to star in the "Beach Party" movies with Frankie Avalon, and the two took their act on the road in 1987. She announced in 1992 that she suffers from multiple sclerosis, which has confined her to a wheelchair.

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    Jan. 3, 1936: Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig was known as "the Iron Horse," for his durability as an American baseball player in the 1920s and 30s. A native of New York City, he played for the New York Yankees until his career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Gehrig played 2,130 games in a 15-year period. The disease claimed Gehrig's life in 1941.

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    July 6, 2004: Peter Jennings was the sole anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" from 1983 when his career was cut short by lung cancer in 2005. Jennings received accolades for anchoring ABC's news coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks for 17 hours straight. It was those same terrorists attacks that Jennings blamed for causing him to begin smoking again. He died from complication from lung cancer on Aug. 7, 2005. Jennings wasn't the only newsman to lose his battle to cancer. Longtime FOX News anchor and press secretary to George W. Bush, Tony Snow lost his battle with colon cancer July 12, 2008. He was just 53 years old. That same year, on June 13, Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert died of a heart attack.