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Steve McQueen Received This Fatal Diagnosis Before His Death

Without a doubt, one of the greatest leading men in the history of American cinema was Steve McQueen. His life was rather short-lived as he died at the age of 50. Yet in his short life he managed to become one of Hollywood’s foremost actors.

He had quite a struggle to become a big star and his life is worth discussing. He had his struggles but also had an incredible journey. His biopic is surely inspirational for anyone looking to achieve their dreams.

So, how did Steve McQueen die? He sadly received a fatal diagnosis before his death which not too many people know about.

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Terrence Stephen McQueen was born in March 1930, in Beech Grove, Indiana. He was raised by a single mother as his father left the family before Steve was born. Naturally, this was difficult for his mother, and she eventually became an alcoholic.

As a young child, he felt that he wasn’t getting much love from his mom. He also struggled much in school and even ran around with local street gangs, getting involved in petty crime.

Eventually, Steve’s mother abandoned him and left him with her own parents who took care of him for the remainder of his childhood. He grew up on a small farm in Slater, Missouri and later recalled that he had a loving upbringing from his grandparents and from his grandmother’s sister’s family.

His life improved due to their love and he was now a more focused young man. He eventually joined the Marines, and this instilled a sense of discipline in him and gave him a greater purpose in life.

He was honorably discharged from the military when he was 20 and he always fondly remembered his time with it. He recalled that the military helped make him a man and helped prepare him for his future as a film star.

Before we tell you more about Steve McQueen’s life and career, please like this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more interesting stories about pop culture and your favorite celebrities and more fascinating biopics! Now, let’s get back to the video…



Steve McQueen began studying acting at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. His teacher was Uta Hagen – one of the most notable theater practitioners and teachers of her time.

He began his career playing small roles and bit parts on popular stage productions, both on and off Broadway. Eventually, his manager, the eminent Hilly Elkins realized that the best place for Steve to become a well-known actor was through B-movies.

He was into cars and bikes and loved racing. He was handsome and had a great onscreen charisma and so far, while work was steady, he wasn’t getting roles that gave him a big break.

His earliest roles were bit parts in TV shows such as Studio One, The Big Story, Climax!, Tales of Wells Fargo, and Trackdown. His big break came in the science-fiction-horror film The Blob which became his first leading role. To this day, Steve McQueen fans love to look back on this film which is a classic among film fans who love old horror films.

He followed up with The St. Louis Bank Robbery and Never So Few. His next major role was in The Magnificent Seven where he had to hold his own among many other major stars. It’s still remembered as one of his best roles.

It was around this time that he was also starring in the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. This series made him a star and got him more attention and helped bring him more offers.

Throughout the 1960s he continued to land one great role after the next. His notable films in the 1960s were The Honeymoon Machine, Hell Is For Heroes, The War Lover, The Great Escape, Soldier In The Rain, Love with the Prosper Stranger, Baby the Rain Must Fall, The Cincinnati Kid, and Nevada Smith.

With each role, he gained more and more notoriety and he was rapidly establishing himself as one of the best actors of his generation.

In the late 1960s, he gave us two of the best roles of his lifetime. The first was as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair. He played the charming Thomas Crown who pulled off a major heist while being tracked down by a sexy investigator. This remains one of his most famous films and endless debates continue to this day on whether Steve McQueen was the better Thomas Crown or whether the Pierce Brosnan remake was better.

His other great role of the late 1960s was in the film Bullitt. He played the epnonymous character who was a San Francisco cop looking to track down the killer who murdered his witness. This was one of the early examples of seeing a ruthless cop on screen and Steve McQueen paved the way for several similar films in the future.

This film solidified Steve McQueen as the bad boy of his generation and it’s still an iconic film today.

He was on top of his game and the 1970s was a further extension of his success in the 1960s. We saw him in great films such as Le Mans, The Getaway, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, and An Enemy of the People. His final two films were released in 1980: Tom Horn and The Hunter.

While Steve McQueen left us a significant body of work we still feel that we could have seen so much more. Sadly, 1980 was the year that Steve McQueen passed away and we didn’t get a chance to see what he could have created in the 80s, 90s, and even in the 2000s.

Even over 40 years since his passing, Steve McQueen is remembered as one of the best actors of his generation and as an icon for leading men. He will continue to be remembered as an inspiration for actors today.

So how did Steve McQueen die so young – at the age of only 50?



Steve McQueen was sadly infected with a horrific form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Naturally, he was told that this would make his life harder and that it could take his life sooner than expected.

During his military experience, he was exposed to asbestos – as a result of working at harbors and at shipyards. This would later cause him serious health issues in later years.

It’s this asbestos exposure that has caused many veterans to get mesothelioma. In fact, this particular form of cancer has been rather common among veterans.

Steve McQueen got even more exposure to asbestos while working on his films. Many times he had to wear clothing that protected against flames and these would garner asbestos.

In 1978, two years before he died, Steve McQueen began having serious issues with this health. He would cough often and would have difficulty breathing at times. He was told by doctors that his mesothelioma wasn’t curable but they tried to reduce its harm via chemotherapy.

He also sought alternative treatment to help him treat his illness. While this helped prolong his life a little and also helped him have enough energy to work on more films, it was sadly clear that mesothelioma was taking over his life.


Steve McQueen died on November 7, 1980, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico at the age of 50. His cause of death was due to a heart attack. No doubt the stress that led to this heart attack was due to his illness.

His death naturally came as a shock to the film industry and to his fans. He kept his illness a secret for much of his later life. His career was short lived but he still managed to make an impact – especially throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He’s loved by new actors today who aspire to become leading men like he was.

Apart from his incredible acting ability, Steve McQueen would often drive the motorcycles and cars for his films. He loved racing in real life and he wasn’t afraid to perform his own stunts in his films. While we’ve gotten used to many actors performing at least some of their stunts today, this was rather rare for Steve McQueen’s time.

He was also interested in flying planes! He truly was an energetic personality and wasn’t afraid to take risks both in his professional and personal life. He was eventually inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame. He had a huge collection of automobiles and motorcycles – with over 100 vehicles in his collection!

He briefly dated actress Gia Scala while the two of them were students at Stella Adler’s acting school. He later married actress Neile Adams with whom he had two children, daughter Terry and son, Chad. The two divorced in 1972. The same year, he married actress Ali McGraw who left her husband, producer Robert Evans to be with Steve McQueen. The two of them were married until their divorce in 1978.

His final marriage was to Barbara Minty whom he married in 1980, several months before his death.

Steve McQueen was a great actor and personality and he’ll continue to be greatly missed and admired…

So, now let’s hear from you:

Are you a fan of Steve McQueen? Did you know about his health condition and his fatal diagnosis?

In fact, here’s what we want to know from you:

Do you think that there’s a modern-day leading man who has the same impact as Steve McQueen?

Or is there no one who can match up to his charisma and charm today?

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

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