Celebrities You May Not Have Known Have Sickle Cell Disease

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

Did you know that 1 in 13 black people have the sickle cell trait?

Sickle cell anemia is a disease that occurs when the red blood cells in the body are shaped like crescents, which can block blood flow in the blood vessels of the limbs and organs. Blocked blood flow can cause pain and organ damage and also raises the risk for infection.

As today is Sickle Cell Awareness day, here is a look at some celebrities you may not have known who suffer from Sickle Cell Anemia Disease.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports sickle cell disease occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.

  1. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins

After releasing two albums with award winning R&B group, TLC, the singer announced publicly that she suffered from sickle cell disease. Since then, she’s gone on to become a spokesperson for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.

  2. Larenz Tate

The Love Jones actor, who also suffers from the disease, started an organization to bring awareness to Sickle Cell Disease with his brothers called The Tate Brothers Foundation.

3. Prodigy

Mobb Deep rapper, Prodigy was one of the 100,000 Americans affected by sickle cell disease before he passed away from a sickle cell related illness after one of the duo’s shows in Vegas last year.

    4. Tiki Barber

NFL star, Tiki Barber, is known to also carry the sickle cell disease. The former New York Giants player, after retiring from the sport in 2006, became involved with increasing Sickle Cell awareness by spearheading “Be Sickle Smart: Ask Tiki About Iron.” The campaign was aimed at those with sickle cell to help them stay informed about their health.

    5. Miles Davis

The famed trumpeter, composer and bandleader was also a sufferer of sickle cell anemia before he passed away. Davis, a legendary jazz musician, passed away from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure at the age of 65.

    6. Paul Williams

One of the original Temptations, the baritone for the legendary singing group suffered from the disease. That, and his deteriorating health had a negative effect on his music career. At times, he would be in too much pain to perform and would often self-medicate with alcohol. Two years after leaving the group, he was found dead in his car from an apparent suicide.

   7. Ryan Clark

Former Washington Redskins safety, Ryan Clark, is one of many people with the sickle cell trait. The star safety has lived without receiving the full effects of the disease, but he was forced to go to the hospital during a game in Denver for a sickle cell related illness due to the city’s high altitude and low oxygen levels, causing hypoxia.

   8. Santonio Holmes

Former Superbowl MVP, Santonio Holmes has sickle cell disease along with his son, Santonio Holmes III. Thus, leading him to create the III & Long Foundation to raise money to support the search for a cure.

WHUR Contributor


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