How Did Warren Zevon Get Mesothelioma?

The Tragic Story of a Music Legend

Greetings, music lovers and fans of the late Warren Zevon. Today, we are going to delve into the circumstances that led to his heartbreaking diagnosis of mesothelioma. For those who may not know, Warren Zevon was a talented musician and songwriter who made his mark on the world with hits like “Werewolves of London” and “Keep Me in Your Heart.” However, his life was cut short when he succumbed to the devastating effects of mesothelioma. In this article, we will explore the details surrounding his battle with this rare form of cancer and what we can learn from it.

Who Was Warren Zevon?

Warren Zevon was born in Chicago in 1947 and grew up in California. He was a unique and talented musician who defied categorization with his blend of rock, folk, and even classical music. His career took off in the 1970s with the release of his first album, “Wanted Dead or Alive.” He went on to release several more albums and became known for his sharp wit and introspective lyrics. Despite his many successes, however, Warren Zevon’s life took a devastating turn when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2002.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. It is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos, a fibrous mineral that was widely used in construction and other industries until its ban in the 1980s. Mesothelioma can take decades to develop after exposure to asbestos, and symptoms may not appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often diagnosed too late for effective treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

The symptoms of mesothelioma can vary depending on the location of the cancer, but may include:

Lung Heart Abdomen
Shortness of breath Chest pain Abdominal swelling or pain
Chest pain Difficulty breathing Nausea or vomiting
Coughing Irregular heartbeat Loss of appetite or weight loss
Fatigue Fainting or dizziness Constipation or diarrhea

How Was Warren Zevon Exposed to Asbestos?

Warren Zevon’s exposure to asbestos is believed to have occurred during his youth, when he worked in the shipyards in Long Beach, California. Asbestos was commonly used in shipbuilding during that time, and workers like Zevon would have been exposed to large amounts of the mineral. Although it can take decades for mesothelioma to develop after exposure to asbestos, Zevon’s diagnosis came relatively soon after his exposure, suggesting that his exposure was especially hazardous.

How Did Warren Zevon’s Diagnosis Affect Him?

When Warren Zevon received his mesothelioma diagnosis, he was understandably devastated. He had already been struggling with alcoholism and had been sober for several years, but the news of his illness drove him to return to drinking. However, he also became more determined than ever to continue writing and performing music. In fact, Zevon’s final album, “The Wind,” was recorded during the last months of his life and features poignant and powerful songs about death and dying.

What Can We Learn from Warren Zevon’s Story?

Warren Zevon’s story is a tragic one, but it also serves as a reminder of the importance of being aware of the risks of exposure to hazardous materials like asbestos. Although asbestos is no longer used in the United States, it can still be found in older buildings and products. It is important for anyone who may come into contact with asbestos to take appropriate precautions to minimize their risk of exposure.


1. Can mesothelioma be cured?

As of now, there is no known cure for mesothelioma. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but these are often not effective in treating advanced-stage mesothelioma.

2. Is mesothelioma always caused by asbestos exposure?

No, although asbestos exposure is the most common cause of mesothelioma, it can also be caused by exposure to other environmental factors such as radiation or certain chemicals.

3. How long does it take for mesothelioma to develop after exposure to asbestos?

Mesothelioma can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop after exposure to asbestos.

4. Can mesothelioma be prevented?

The best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid exposure to asbestos. If you work in a field where you may come into contact with asbestos, make sure to take appropriate safety measures and follow all guidelines for handling and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

5. What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

The prognosis for mesothelioma is generally poor, as it is often not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage. However, advances in treatment options have improved survival rates in some cases.

6. Is mesothelioma contagious?

No, mesothelioma is not contagious.

7. Can pets develop mesothelioma?

Yes, although rare, pets can develop mesothelioma, usually as a result of exposure to asbestos or other environmental factors.

8. What are some common misconceptions about mesothelioma?

One common misconception about mesothelioma is that it is a type of lung cancer, when in fact it is a separate and distinct type of cancer. Another misconception is that it is only caused by exposure to asbestos, when in fact it can also be caused by other environmental factors.

9. How is mesothelioma diagnosed?

Mesothelioma is usually diagnosed through imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans, followed by a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

10. What are some common treatments for mesothelioma?

Treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be used.

11. Can mesothelioma be detected early?

Early detection of mesothelioma is often difficult, as symptoms may not appear until the cancer has reached an advanced stage. However, regular check-ups and screenings can help to catch the cancer early in some cases.

12. What are some risk factors for mesothelioma?

The primary risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Other risk factors may include smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, and radiation therapy.

13. What can I do if I have been exposed to asbestos?

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can help you determine if you are at risk for mesothelioma or other health problems related to asbestos exposure.

The Legacy of Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon may have been taken from us too soon, but his music continues to inspire and move us to this day. His courage in the face of mesothelioma serves as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit, even in the face of the most daunting challenges. Let us honor his memory by continuing to appreciate his music and by taking action to prevent further tragedies like his from occurring.

Take Action Today

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or has been exposed to asbestos, do not wait to take action. Contact your doctor or a qualified mesothelioma lawyer right away to learn about your options and get the help you need.

Closing Thoughts

Warren Zevon’s story is a sobering reminder of the risks of exposure to hazardous materials like asbestos. Although we cannot bring him back, we can honor his memory by working to prevent further tragedies like his from occurring. Let us continue to celebrate his life and legacy through his music, and let us never forget the lessons he taught us about courage, resilience, and the power of the human spirit.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or medical advice. If you have been exposed to asbestos or have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please seek the advice of a qualified medical or legal professional.