Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on January 01, 2022

Chadwick Boseman


The actor, who played King T’Challa in Black Panther and baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 42, died of colon cancer at age 43. He had had colon cancer for 4 years. When he was diagnosed in 2016, the cancer was in stage III. It progressed to stage IV despite treatments that included surgeries and chemotherapy. Many of his movies were filmed during that time and he was a “true fighter,” his team wrote on his official Instagram page after his death.

Charles M. Schulz


Charles M. Schulz, the man behind the legendary comic strip “Peanuts,” brought Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy to readers in 75 countries in thousands of newspapers each week for nearly 50 years. Schulz wrote his last “Peanuts” strip in November 1999 following his diagnosis of colon cancer. He passed away shortly after in February 2000.

Darryl Strawberry


The power player blasted his way through the 1980s and '90s as both a  New York Met and a New York Yankee. But off the field, he faced challenges ranging from drugs and alcohol to tax evasion. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1998 at age 36. He had surgery and chemotherapy, but the cancer returned in 2000 and sent him back to the OR. He and his wife, Tracy, now run recovery centers in Florida and Texas.

Audrey Hepburn


Known for her iconic style, the woman who brought Holly Golightly and Eliza Doolittle to life on screen spent her later years as a humanitarian. She traveled the world as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, raising awareness for starving children. Her work came to an end when she developed colon cancer and died from the disease in 1993.

Ronald Reagan


The 40th president lived the American Dream. He rose from a poor childhood to become a Hollywood film star then claimed the Oval Office. Early in his second term, doctors found a growth in his large intestine. They removed the polyp and nearly 2 feet of intestine. The president’s public experience helped to raise awareness about this type of cancer. He beat the disease, but Alzheimer’s claimed him at age 93.

Sharon Osbourne


The outspoken talk show host and wife of legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne has no fears about sharing details of her private life. When she found out she had colon cancer in 2003, she opened up about it on her reality TV show, The Osbournes. The cameras followed her from diagnosis and treatment to remission. After her recovery, she created the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program to help others living with the disease.

Vince Lombardi


The longtime Green Bay coach achieved legendary status not just for his winning record but for his ability to motivate and inspire others. Under his command in the 1960s, the Packers won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls. Lombardi’s colon cancer was aggressive, and despite two surgeries, he passed away in 1970.

Elizabeth Montgomery


With a signature nose twitch, she charmed her way to 5 Emmy nods for her role as Samantha Stephens on the top-rated sitcom Bewitched, which ran from 1964 to 1972. Montgomery’s cancer was diagnosed in 1995, and surgery revealed that the disease had already spread. She died just 8 weeks later.

Sam Simon


A nine-time Emmy winner, he wrote episodes of Cheers, Taxi, and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show before moving on to help create TV’s long-running animated hit, TheSimpsons. Upon his diagnosis with colorectal cancer in 2012, Simon, an avid animal lover, gave his $100 million fortune to animal rescue charities. He died in 2015.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg


In 1993, President Clinton appointed her as the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Doctors found Ginsburg’s colon cancer while treating her for an unrelated infection in 1999. She recovered from the cancer after surgery and chemotherapy. Ten years later, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in 2020.

Katie Couric


The TV host  never had colorectal cancer, but she lost her first husband, Jay Monahan, to the disease just months after his diagnosis in 1997. Since then, Couric has led an awareness campaign for colon cancer screenings and co-founded a cancer treatment center in her late husband’s name. She had a colonoscopy on live TV in 2001 when she was a Today show co-host. Her efforts led to a 20% jump in the number of screenings in the U.S.

Show Sources


1) Gage Skidmore / Flickr

2) Matthew Naythons / Getty

3) Jim McIsaac / Getty

4) Peter Charlesworth / Getty

5) Dirck Halstead / Getty

6) Noel Vasquez / Getty

7) Robert Riger / Getty

8) Getty

9) Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty

10) Eric Vandeville / Getty

11) Allison Shelley / Getty

12) Ron Galella / Getty


New York Times: “Charles M. Schulz, ‘Peanuts’ Creator, Dies at 77,” “Audrey Hepburn, Actress, Is Dead at 63,” “Ronald Reagan Dies at 93; Fostered Cold-War Might and Curbs on Government,” “Reagan’s Illness: Medical Outlook; Cancer of the Colon: A Leading Killer,” “Ginsburg Leaves Hospital; Prognosis on Cancer Is Good,” “Jay Monahan is Dead at 42; Covered Law for NBC News.”

USA Today: “‘Peanuts’ creator battles colon cancer,” “Sharon Osbourne Candid About Colorectal Cancer.”

Biography: “Darryl Strawberry,” “Audrey Hepburn,” “Sharon Osbourne,” “Elizabeth Montgomery,” “Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “Katie Couric.”

Baltimore Sun: “Yankee has colon cancer Strawberry diagnosis stuns team.”

Strawberry Ministries: “Darryl & Tracy Strawberry Christian Recovery Centers.”

Vince “About Vince Lombardi.”

Washington Post: “Vince Lombardi Dead at 57; Funeral Monday in New York.”

People: “That Magic Feeling.”

Variety: “Sam Simon, Co-Creator of The Simpsons, Dies at 59.” “Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon who gave away his $100million fortune to animal charities dies of colon cancer aged 59.”

CNN: “Justice Ginsburg Has Surgery for Cancer.”

Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health.

NIH Medline Plus: “Preventing, Detecting, and Treating Colorectal Cancer.”