Updated 30 October 2017

10 famous people living with asthma

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the world today. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) estimated 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, with 250,000 annual deaths attributed to the disease.

It occurs at any age, usually before the age of five but includes adulthood as well. Some celebrities both young and old have asthma and have managed it well. Take a look:

David Beckham – professional soccer player and philanthropist

Legendary ex-football player David Beckham was photographed in 2013 with an inhaler. This revealed that the footballer was suffering from asthma. Beckham is walking proof that you can make it to the top in sport even if you have asthma. 

Becks, as Beckham is often referred to, was private about his condition as an asthmatic for a long time. 


Dennis Rodman – professional basketball player

This basketball legend suffers from asthma, but it didn’t stop him from playing 14 seasons in the NBA, winning five championships, and leading the league in rebounding for a record seven years straight.

Diane Keaton – actress

The 70-year-old Oscar-winning actress has starred in nearly 50 films and says that since there’s no cure for asthma, her goal is to control it.

Pink – singer

Edgy pop star Pink has grappled with serious respiratory problems since the age of 2. In fact, she was born with a collapsed lung. 

Sharon Stone – actress

Most famous for her leg-crossing stint in the movie Basic Instinct with Michael Douglas, the actress, model and film producer lives with asthma.

Bono – singer

Born Paul David Hewson, Bono is the lead singer of the band U2 and has many other titles like singer-songwriter, musician, venture capitalist, businessman, and philanthropist. He is also a humanitarian and has been named the most politically effective celebrity of all time. One of his children also suffers from asthma.

Kenneth Gorelick, aka Kenny G – musician

The Grammy-winning American saxophone player, now 60-years-old, suffers from acute asthma, but nothing stopped him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a saxophonist.

Bonang Matheba – TV and radio personality

The 29-year-old presenter on Metro FM and Afternoon Express on SABC 3 has had asthma since she was five years old. She is also allergic to grass, milk and cats and struggles with activities such as running and swimming.

Jessica Alba – actress

Popular romantic comedy actress Jessica Alba once offered her acting skills free of charge to help raise money for Aids, but struggles with asthma. Jessica has also suffered from a collapsed lung. "I had really bad asthma and was in hospital a lot from the ages of four to 12," says the highly successful former teen star.  

Schalk Burger – rugby player

Springbok rugby player Schalk Burger needs no introduction. Schalk has even had a real burger named after him! As a child he suffered from asthma, and to this day carries his emergency pump around with him everywhere he goes.

Read more: 

Is your asthma under control?

Clean home may reduce asthma attacks in kids

Concern over asthma drugs


Ask the Expert

Asthma Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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