Famous diabetics

by Mark Benson on August 24, 2012

Famous diabetics!

Despite the fact that diabetes can be a very debilitating condition and potentially life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated correctly, there are many famous individuals around the world who have lived a very full life and been very successful in their particular fields. We will now take a look at some of the better-known famous diabetics and take a look back at what they have achieved despite the handicap of diabetes.

Elizabeth Taylor

There is intense speculation that Elizabeth Taylor had been diagnosed with type I diabetes although she never officially commented upon this before 2009 when she did actually refuted the allegations after a brief hospital visit. The award-winning actress who was perhaps one of the more iconic figures from the world of movies and films passed away in March 2011 aged 79 and even now there is still confusion as to whether she actually suffered from type I diabetes or not.

There are very few people alive today who have lived such an active life as Elizabeth Taylor and while her private life and her public life were very different she did experience heartache and joy in all areas. Her relationship with Richard Burton has been the subject of much speculation, much press comment and even a movie. To say that diabetes type I impacted the way in which Elizabeth Taylor lived her life would be untrue – she certainly knew how to enjoy herself.

Sharon Stone

It may come as a surprise to some to learn that Sharon Stone has been diagnosed with type I diabetes and has to go through the process of daily insulin injections to control the condition. While much of the headlines about her life revolve around her acting career she is also a very successful business woman in her own right and again, like Elizabeth Taylor, she has a private and personal life which is very colourful indeed.

When you consider the fact that actresses and actors can often be on set for hours on end under intense pressure and limited timescales, her ability to control type I diabetes is very impressive indeed. She may have encountered a number of controversial film roles but there is no doubt that diabetes has not affected the way in which Sharon Stone has lived her life.

Sir Steve Redgrave

Sir Steve Redgrave is one of the all-time greats with regards to UK rowing and it is even more impressive when you bear in mind that he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997 at the relatively young age of 35. Despite the fact that he already had four gold medals behind him he continued his career, in what many believe is one of the toughest sports in the world, and added yet another gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. Even the record-breaking rower himself was concerned that diabetes may well prevent him from fulfilling his dreams but that is certainly not the case.

When you bear in mind the physical and mental pressure associated with rowing in particular it is amazing to think of the backroom team behind Sir Steve Redgrave who have allowed him to continue an illustrious career beyond the shock of discovering he was diabetic. He is an inspiration to many people and has no qualms about discussing the condition with anybody who is prepared to listen.

Aretha Franklin

Commonly referred to as the “Queen of Soul” there is no doubt that Aretha Franklin is an inspiration to many people around the world as her diabetic condition, it is unknown whether it is type I or type II, has certainly not stopped her from fulfilling her ambitions. She’s a singer, songwriter, pianist and she is also a very successful business lady in her own right. She has an amazing 20 Grammy awards, has been presented with lifetime and legend awards and her songs are still played on a regular basis around the world.

Even though it is relatively common knowledge that Aretha Franklin is diabetic she has decided to keep her private life confidential and has never commented upon speculation about her medical condition. On one hand this shows that it is not detrimental to how you live your life but on the other hand perhaps if more people knew she was diabetic she would become yet more inspirational?

Jimmy Tarbuck

Jimmy Tarbuck is a well-known name in the UK where his career as a comedian has taken him to highs which many of us can only dream of. As well as his comical talents he has also hosted a number of award-winning TV shows and is often seen on screen even today. He was diagnosed with diabetes at a relatively late stage of his life although those who followed his career will be well aware that it has not held him back.

Jimmy Tarbuck has gone on to become the president of Diabetes UK, a charitable organisation created to help those with diabetes, and despite the fact that he is now 75 years of age he is still very active in fundraising and charitable activities. He is very well connected in showbiz circles and persuaded the likes of Ronnie Corbett, Henry Cooper and Bruce Forsyth to become involved in his major sporting love, golf. There is an array of charitable golf events used to raise money for Diabetes UK with Jimmy Tarbuck at the centre of these.

Life goes on

Despite the fact that either type I diabetes or type II diabetes can be a life changing condition for any sufferers, the famous individuals above perfectly illustrates how life does go on. It would be wrong to suggest that it is not a shock to realise you are suffering from this potentially debilitating condition but when you see famous sportspeople, actors and actresses, comedians and singers living life to the full it is a lesson to us all.

There have been great strides in the treatment of diabetes over the last few years and indeed we should see major breakthroughs in the short to medium term. New technologies and new procedures are coming on board and while it is expected to be one of the most common conditions in the years ahead, progress is being made.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Margaret November 23, 2015 at 11:52 pm

According to this article in the Daily Mail dated January 20, 2012 Sharon Stone is claiming that she never had diabetes.


“The rumours that I have diabetes are not true. In fact, I have extremely low blood sugar and extremely low blood pressure. I am actually superbly healthy.”


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