10 Famous People With Sarcoidosis

Famous People With Sarcoidosis:

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease in which granulomas form in various organs, most commonly the lungs, eyes, lymph nodes, and skin. These granulomas may change the normal structure and function of the affected organ.

An estimated 15 in 100,000 people in the United States develop sarcoidosis every year. The disease occurs at all ages and affects people of all racial and ethnic groups.

In the US, it is most common in people of European “particularly Scandinavian” descent and African Americans.


Common symptoms of sarcoidosis include:

  • Abnormal liver function
  • Cough
  • Increased levels of calcium in the bloodstream
  • Shortness of breath
  • Kidney stones
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Blurry vision
  • Night sweats
  • Dryness of the eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritation
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Joint stiffness or pain
  • Raised bumps on the skin
  • Wheezing
  • Skin rashes
  • Feeling congested.

Note – African-Americans patients may experience more severe symptoms.


Researchers believe that sarcoidosis is caused by an abnormal immune response. Additionally, an individual with a close blood relative who has the disease is nearly five times as likely to develop sarcoidosis.

Many patients recover completely without medical treatment. When it is needed, symptoms can be managed with medication. A steroid medication, like – cortisone or prednisolone, is the most common therapy.

Here Is A List Of 10 Famous People With Sarcoidosis:

#1 Bill Russell

He is an American retired professional basketball player who is a twelve-time All-Star NBA and a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player. From 1956 to 1969, Bill played center in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Boston Celtics.

In 1969, Russell retired and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 6 years later. He was diagnosed with sarcoidosis.

#2 James Ray

He is an American former professional basketball player. In 2001, he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. The cause of Ray’s sarcoidosis is unknown and it took the doctors several years to correctly make the diagnosis. In 2008, Ray received a lung transplant.

#3 Matthew Good

He is a Canadian musician who was the lead singer for the Matthew Good Band, a successful band in Canada during the 1990s. Good was also credited with coining the popular internet phrase ”First World Problems.”

In 2012, Matthew Good said – ”For the last 13 years, I have suffered from a disease called Sarcoidosis… Unfortunately, because I am bipolar, and take medication for that, when I am placed on oral prednisone, it results in extreme mania.”

#4 Bernie Mac

He was an American actor, comedian, and voice actor who is best known for his appearance in the “Ocean’s 11” films and “Bernie Mac Show.”

In the final 3 years of his life, Bernie publicly disclosed that he had suffered from sarcoidosis. He died in 2008. His public funeral was held a week after his death at the House of Hope Church with over 6,000 people in attendance.

#5 Reggie White

He was a professional American football player who played defensive end in the NFL (National Football League). In his 15-year NFL career, Reggie White was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 consecutive times.

On December 26, 2004, White died due to complications from sarcoidosis, which he had lived with for years. His jersey, #92, was retired by the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers.

#6 Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson, better known as the Queen of the Gospel, was an American gospel singer who is revered as one of the greatest musical figures in United States history.

In 1963, Mahalia Jackson sang the old African American spiritual “I Been ’Buked and I Been Scorned” just before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

On January 27, 1971, Jackson died in Chicago due to complications from a nearly lifelong struggle with sarcoidosis.

#7 Evander Holyfield

He is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1984 to 2011. Holyfield reigned as the champion at cruiserweight in the 1980s and at heavyweight in the 1990s. He is the only professional fighter to win the heavyweight championship 4 separate times.

During his career, Evander had notable victories over:

  • Hasim Rahman;
  • George Foreman;
  • Michael Dokes;
  • Larry Holmes;
  • John Ruiz;
  • Riddick Bowe;
  • Michael Moorer;
  • Mike Tyson;
  • Ray Mercer.

In 1994, Evander Holyfield was diagnosed with sarcoidosis.

#8 Manning Marable

He was an American professor of history, public affairs, and African-American Studies at Columbia University. Manning was educated at the University of Wisconsin, Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., and the University of Maryland.

In 2010, Marable had undergone a double lung transplant. Manning Marable died on April 1, 2011, due to complications from sarcoidosis.

Before his death, Manning had completed a biography of Malcolm X (an American Muslim human rights activist) titled Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.

#9 Angie Stone

She is an American producer, recording artist, and actress who has been nominated for 3 Grammy Awards.

Stone has been most successful on the R&B charts, with 3 top 10 albums, including a number 1, and 10 singles. While Angie Stone was on her way up, she was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. In addition, in 1999, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

#10 Floyd Mayweather Sr.

He is an American former professional boxer who was acclaimed for his defensive strategies and his in-depth knowledge of boxing tactics. He is also the father of dominant boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.

During an interview, Floyd Mayweather Sr. said – “It is a serious disease, man. Sarcoidosis is nothing to play with. It typically attacks men, however, there are the rare occasions where women get it too and it’s tough.”


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23 thoughts on “10 Famous People With Sarcoidosis”

  1. Hi, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 2007. I don’t know anybody that has this disease, which at times can make me very tired, fatigue, and miserable to say the least. However, I thank God every day for life, and try and do a much for myself in order to maintain my health. I would like to raise awareness about Sarcoidosis in the uk, and would be very grateful if you could point me in the right direction. Thank you in advance.

    • I was diagnosed July 2011, I have scaring on my lungs from it, suffer with fatigue, a constant cough, chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing, I also developed cataracts in both eyes deteriorating at a very fast pace I was told it was one of the worse cases they had seen in a person of my age. You are right there is not enough knowledge of it in the uk, I tell people I have it and they ask what is it, it effects so many different part of your body that it makes I hard to explain in a way people understand, since I was diagnosed at 32 iv suffer alone with the above symptoms dizziness this used to happen at such random time and would cause my to stumble, I stumbled towards a busy road one day one the way home from a school run, over the years iv learnt how to recognise the start of the dizziness at which point I just sit down and let it pass I don’t always happen when I’m stood it can also happen when sat down. Living with sarcoidosis has been a challenge but explains a lot of thing from when I was younger when the doctor couldn’t explain things that where happening.

    • I was diagnosed in 2013 and I’m still learning more about my sarcoidosis disease. I have fiber neuropathy in my legs, feet to my toes. I get tried easy have no energy, but I do push myself to work every day and by the end of the week I’m too tired to do anything else. My eyes get dry and sometimes very red. There’s time my body hurts all the time.

    • I live in Cali I was diagnosed in 2003, it’s so much I could tell you, but is a lot. I’m now 73 yrs old I’ve come through pretty well. A lot of doctors don’t know a lot about the disease it’s hard. I was thankful to get a doctor who specializes in Sarcoidosis. When it first hit I went down to a size 2 from size 14, very quickly. I got the right meds. It’s scary try not to give up.

  2. GOD, please be a blessing to all who have this TERRIBLE DEBILITATING DISEASE. I have had this disease since I was 14 /15 y/o. first dx at age 22y/o with BECK SARCOIDOSIS for which there is no cure affecting most of one internal organs: thus far my eyes, lungs joints are my most affected, however tiredness,, fatigue, malaise, skin rashes most recently my feet has began to hurt. On going symptoms. History of thyroid cancer and stroke, chronic anemic. Just recently celebrated my 77th birthday so hoping there is others who will have a long pain free life. GOD BLESS.

      • Hi,
        This is a chronic disease, but You can pull through. I have Cardiac Sarcardoisis, Systemic. In 23 years I have had 5 pacemakers (18 years) 2 fractured necks, no spleen, gallbladder & I’m in remission from Colon Cancer. You can pull through. Supplements, a good MD, mental health all help. Reach out there is help!!
        G-d Bless

  3. 11/17/2022
    I was diagnosed with lung sarcoidosis five years ago.
    Sarcoidosis has affected my
    my eyes, heart, kidneys, liver
    and ovaries. I have stiff joints
    and I have skin rash on both
    Overall I’m doing ok. I too would
    like join a support, if you know
    of any, please let me know.

    • Bernie Mac has a beautiful foundation and also Sarcoidosis awareness month be visible and loud we have to put this ugly condition on the Map so people can be aware of this unexplained condition

  4. I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 2007. It is believed I got it in the Navy after a collision at sea. They stripped the ship of asbestos and we used knuckle busters to break up the non-skid on the flight deck that created a black silica dust we inhaled as well. I now have the rarest form, Cardiac Sarcoidosis. I received a pacemaker 4 months ago. This disease has no mercy. I’m 65 yrs old and treading.

    • Hi David-
      I also have cardiac sarcoidosis. Diagnosed in 2017. Feel free to contact me if you feel like sharing information or questions.

      • Hi,
        I also have Cardiac Sarcardoisis, 5 pacemakers in 18 years. A total of 17+ surgeries since 1999, a massive journey. Reach out if you’d like.

    • recent diag of CS. had my pacer since 1 May 2023 after months of bradycardia & finally complete A/V block. Encouraged by feeling so much better initially, hope it sustains. That heart block was me trying to tread, I was going under. If my life is not extended 1 second, I am grateful to feel better.

  5. I have recently been diagnosed of the disease but I have had the symptoms for years. Doctors have prescribed prednisolone i am hesitant to start because
    of the scary likely side effects.
    I need to hear from anyone that has experience with prednisolone.

    • The worst pills ever took it for 2 to 3yrs I was so huge by weight gain and moody. I gained 50 pounds in 2yrs it changes your body especially in the back and neck it never goes away. Try to do natural supplements if you can I wish someone would have told me that years ago

      • Hello. What natural. Supplements or what site can you recommend please ? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi,
      So sorry to hear. But, there are Few tools doctors have for this disease. Prednisone is only a temporary fix to help the inflammation, it does work! Symptoms very per person, mine were minimal, better than alternative….I have Systemic Cardiac Sarcardoisis

    • I also really didn’t want to start prednisone as I’m a nurse and know the side effects. One thing I can say is prednisone was fantastic. Felt great, worked so well and I cannot express how much it did for me.

    • THAT would B Me who had tha world Experience of taking Prednisolone (Steroids) took me to tha moon & Back! Lord hav mercy bless our souls

  6. diagnosed with pulmonary sarc in 2014. Now recovering from implant of pacemaker because sarc inflammation recently showed up in the heart causing complete A/V disassociation. i thought the pulmonary was bad, cardiac sarc is an ass kicker… BUT the pacer has renewed my spirit and i have some hope for an increase in ‘normal’ activities. Good luck to all, look forward, not back

  7. I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 2007. I got it in my spinal cord. I had to take steroids (to shrink it) and methotrexate (to kill it so it’s scar tissue). My whole life changed overnight because it affected my body from my low back to my feet and left me bedridden for about two years. Constant sever pain, numbness, tingling, loss of muscle and balance. The more my tailbone hurts the more the pain radiates to my feet. I’m on several medications and pain patches and I still suffer daily from constant pain. My quality of life has changed drastically. I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone.


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