Dangerous Diabetes: Affliction of the Stars

Fiorello Laguardia

Fiorello LaGuardia, former New York mayor and namesake of one of the world's busiest airports, was also a diabetic. LaGuardia was the mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945. He was popularly known as "the Little Flower," the translation of his Italian first name, and has been considered one of New York City's greatest mayors by historians because of his role in leading New York during the Great Depression.

Johnny Cash

Over a career spanning five decades, country singer Johnny Cash compiled 10 Grammy Awards. He won his first Grammy in 1967 and reaped honors even near the end of his career. In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy-Drager syndrome. The diagnosis was later altered to autonomic neuropathy, associated with diabetes.

Cash died on Sept. 12, 2003, of "diabetes complications" according to his manager. He sold more than 90 million albums in his nearly 50-year career and came to occupy a commanding position in music history, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Syd Barrett

Type 2 diabetes also influenced the life and music of Syd Barrett, one of the founders of the rock band Pink Floyd. He wrote most of Pink Floyd's early material, and left an impact on the rock world that followed the band. After spending seven years in seclusion, Barrett died July 7, 2006, in Cambridge, England. He died of pancreatic cancer, but this was usually reported as "complications from diabetes." Some people have theorized that Barrett was also suffering from mental illness, or that the combination of drugs and flashing lights used in the shows triggered some epileptic seizures.

David Crosby

David Crosby is a founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Crosby is a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame for his work. Crosby has type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes and is being treated with insulin to manage this disease.

Crosby received a liver transplant in 1994, necessitated by his many years of drug and alcohol abuse.

In January 2000 rock star Melissa Etheridge announced that Crosby was the biological father of her and partner Julie Cypher's two children, conceived through artificial insemination.

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has something to sing about: his successful management of his type 2 diabetes. Lloyd Webber donated more than $300,000 to a U.K. hospital to help diabetics and kidney transplant patients.

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