10 Famous People With Sarcoidosis (Evander Holyfield?)

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 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.

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#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 Gospel, was an American gospel singer who is revered as one of the greatest musical figures in United States history.

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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.

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#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.”



2 thoughts on “10 Famous People With Sarcoidosis (Evander Holyfield?)”

  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.


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