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Old January 5th, 2017, 10:17 AM   #1
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Steve McQueen's Death

Steve McQueen was quite an American icon. He developed a persistent cough in 1978. He gave up cigarettes and underwent antibiotic treatments without improvement. Shortness of breath grew more pronounced and on December 22, 1979, after filming The Hunter, a biopsy revealed pleural mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos exposure for which there is no known cure. A few months later, McQueen gave a medical interview in which he blamed his condition on asbestos exposure. McQueen believed that asbestos used in movie sound stage insulation and race-drivers' protective suits and helmets could have been involved, but he thought it more likely that his illness was a direct result of massive exposure while removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship while in the Marines.

By February 1980, evidence of widespread metastasis was found. While he tried to keep the condition a secret, the National Enquirer disclosed that he had "terminal cancer" on March 11, 1980. In July, McQueen traveled to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, for unconventional treatment after US doctors told him they could do nothing to prolong his life. Controversy arose over the trip, because McQueen sought treatment from William Donald Kelley, who was promoting a variation of the Gerson therapy that used coffee enemas, frequent washing with shampoos, daily injections of fluid containing live cells from cattle and sheep, massage, and laetrile; an anticancer drug available in Mexico, but described as canonical quackery by mainstream scientists. McQueen paid for Kelley's treatments by himself in cash payments which were said to have been upwards of $40,000 per month ($116,000 today) during his three-month stay in Mexico. Kelley's only medical license (until revoked in 1976) had been for orthodontics. Kelley's methods created a sensation in the traditional and tabloid press when it became known that McQueen was a patient.

McQueen returned to the US in early October. Despite metastasis of the cancer throughout McQueen's body, Kelley publicly announced that McQueen would be completely cured and return to normal life. McQueen's condition soon worsened and "huge" tumors developed in his abdomen.

In late October 1980, McQueen flew to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, to have an abdominal tumor on his liver (weighing around five pounds) removed, despite warnings from his US doctors that the tumor was inoperable and his heart could not withstand the surgery. McQueen checked into a small Juarez clinic under the assumed name of "Sam Shepard", where the doctors and staff were unaware of his actual identity.

On November 7, 1980, McQueen died of cardiac arrest at 3:45 a.m. at the Juárez clinic, 12 hours after surgery to remove or reduce numerous metastatic tumors in his neck and abdomen. He was 50 years old. According to the El Paso Times McQueen died in his sleep.

Leonard DeWitt of the Ventura Missionary Church presided over McQueen's memorial service. McQueen was cremated and his ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McQueen
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