Steve McQueen Mesothelioma: A Tragic Tale of a Hollywood Icon



Greetings, dear readers. Today, we will be discussing the life and times of Steve McQueen, a legendary Hollywood actor, and his untimely demise due to mesothelioma – a deadly form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the story of Steve McQueen, his rise to fame, his battle with mesothelioma, and how his tragic passing brought awareness to the dangers of asbestos exposure. We hope that this article will serve as a cautionary tale for everyone and shed light on the importance of occupational safety measures.

Who was Steve McQueen?

Steve McQueen was an American actor, known for his roles in classic films such as The Great Escape, Bullitt, and The Magnificent Seven. He was born on March 24, 1930, in Beech Grove, Indiana, and grew up in a broken home. McQueen had a rough childhood, and he often found himself in trouble with the law.

However, he turned his life around when he joined the United States Marine Corps in 1947. After serving in the military, McQueen pursued a career in acting and quickly gained fame for his captivating performances on the big screen.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium – a thin layer of tissue that covers most of our internal organs. It is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos – a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in various industries for its heat-resistant properties until the 1980s.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can get lodged in the lungs and cause scarring and inflammation, which can eventually lead to mesothelioma. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma can take decades to show, and by the time it is diagnosed, the cancer has usually already spread.

Steve McQueen’s Battle with Mesothelioma

In 1979, Steve McQueen was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and he immediately underwent surgery to remove the tumors. However, the cancer had already spread to other parts of his body, and he was given only a few months to live.

Despite this grim prognosis, McQueen did not give up. He sought out alternative therapies and even traveled to Mexico for a controversial treatment called Laetrile – a drug made from apricot pits that was touted as a cure for cancer but had not been approved by the FDA.

Unfortunately, the treatments were ineffective, and Steve McQueen passed away on November 7, 1980, at the age of 50. His death brought much-needed attention to the dangers of asbestos exposure and the need for stricter safety regulations in the workplace.

Steve McQueen’s Mesothelioma Information
Birthdate: March 24, 1930
Diagnosis: 1979
Treatment: Surgery, Laetrile
Death: November 7, 1980

Frequently Asked Questions about Steve McQueen Mesothelioma

1. Was Steve McQueen a heavy smoker?

Yes, Steve McQueen was a heavy smoker, and he was often seen with a cigarette on and off the screen. Smoking is a known risk factor for various types of cancer, including lung cancer, but it is not directly linked to mesothelioma.

2. How did Steve McQueen contract mesothelioma?

Steve McQueen most likely contracted mesothelioma from his exposure to asbestos. He had worked in the United States Marine Corps and in the film industry, where asbestos was commonly used until the 1980s.

3. How long did Steve McQueen live after his mesothelioma diagnosis?

Steve McQueen lived for only one year after his mesothelioma diagnosis. His cancer had spread to other parts of his body, and he passed away on November 7, 1980.

4. What is the survival rate for mesothelioma?

The survival rate for mesothelioma depends on various factors such as the stage of the cancer, the age of the patient, and their overall health. However, the average survival rate for mesothelioma is around 12 to 21 months.

5. Is mesothelioma treatable?

Mesothelioma is treatable, but it is not curable. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and alternative therapies such as immunotherapy and gene therapy.

6. What are the early signs of mesothelioma?

The early signs of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and weight loss. However, these symptoms may not show up until several years after asbestos exposure.

7. How can mesothelioma be prevented?

Mesothelioma can be prevented by avoiding exposure to asbestos. If you work in an industry that uses asbestos, you should follow proper safety measures such as wearing protective gear and following safety protocols. If you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos, you should consult a medical professional.

8. What was Steve McQueen’s legacy?

Steve McQueen’s legacy is that of a Hollywood icon who brought a sense of realism to his performances and captivated audiences with his talent and charisma. His battle with mesothelioma brought much-needed attention to the dangers of asbestos exposure and the need for stricter safety regulations in the workplace.

9. What are the long-term effects of asbestos exposure?

The long-term effects of asbestos exposure may include mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other respiratory diseases. These diseases may take decades to develop, and they can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

10. Can asbestos exposure cause mesothelioma in non-smokers?

Yes, asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma in non-smokers. Smoking is a risk factor for various types of cancer, but it is not directly linked to mesothelioma.

11. What is asbestos, and why was it widely used?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in various industries for its heat-resistant properties. It was commonly used in construction materials, automotive parts, and textiles. However, it was later discovered that asbestos exposure can cause severe health problems such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

12. What are the current safety measures in place to prevent asbestos exposure?

The current safety measures to prevent asbestos exposure include proper training for workers who handle asbestos, the use of protective gear such as masks and gloves, and strict regulations on the use of asbestos in construction and other industries.

13. How can I support mesothelioma research?

You can support mesothelioma research by donating to organizations such as the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cancer Institute. You can also participate in fundraising events and spread awareness about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.


In conclusion, Steve McQueen’s tragic battle with mesothelioma serves as a reminder that asbestos exposure can have severe consequences and that we must take necessary steps to prevent it. We hope that this article has shed light on the importance of occupational safety measures and the need for stricter regulations to protect workers.

We urge everyone to take caution and follow proper safety protocols when handling asbestos or other hazardous materials. Let us honor Steve McQueen’s legacy by raising awareness about mesothelioma and supporting research efforts to find a cure for this deadly disease.



This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or provide medical advice. Readers should consult with medical professionals for any health-related concerns. The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.