9 Celebrities Who Were Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis

7. Gunnar Esiason

Gunnar Esiason is the son of former football player and star Boomer Esiason. Gunnar, who is now 24-years-old, was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis. Regardless of the disease, he grew up surrounded by sports, practicing football, lacrosse, ice hockey, golf and more. Gunnar’s parents, Boomer and Cheryl, decided not only to focus on helping their son but also on helping others fight the disease. With this hope, the family created the Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF), which funds research and supports the CF community.

“Because of BEF, I have been able to reach out to the CF community and try to reassure everyone who has been affected by this disease that CF isn’t the end of the world, if they don’t want it to be. That has been my main goal,” said Gunnar, who is currently studying at Boston College. “I want to try and have the most ‘normal’ college experience possible. I hope to graduate on time, and then potentially move on to post-graduate studies.” Given the improvements in life expectancy for patients with cystic fibrosis, all the family is optimistic. “I believe that we are experiencing something of a medical miracle now in cystic fibrosis research,” added Boomer Esiason. “I fully expect Gunnar to outlive me.”

8. Celine Dion’s niece Karine

shutterstock_145179424Karine was the daughter of Liette and niece of Celine Dion, who died as a result of cystic fibrosis in 1993 when she was 16-years-old. She was diagnosed at birth with the disease and struggled through her childhood with it. Having witnessed the devastation of the disease in her family, Celine Dion became devoted to the fight against CF and she is currently the President of Honor of the Foundation against Cystic Fibrosis, she also supports the T.J. Martell Foundation and the Bottom Memorial of Princess Diana of Galls.

“I went near her,” told Céline. “She had slept so she had the strength to get up and I was behind her to trying to support her little body with my back because she was bent. She got up and she took my arm under her, I loosened her hair and I sang in her ear, and like that, the idea of Eddy’s song came to me: Les Oiseaux du Bonheur; I sang this song very quietly and quite slowly, I felt that her organs, one after the other, left us, because my body was very near to hers and I felt that they left us.  I signed to my family who was on the edge, and for my mother (she shakes the head), while singing, everybody knew.  Then I looked at my family and I continued to sing, she left slowly like that. I am so satisfied that I sang her a song before she left, and before she gave me this luck to accompany her, it is the most beautiful gift… ”

9. Laura Rothenberg

Laura RothenbergLaura Rothenberg was a student at Brown University and a patient with cystic fibrosis. What made her famous was a book she wrote titled “Breathing for a Living: A Memoir,” as well as a radio documentary called “My So-Called Lungs,” which aired on NPR August 5, 2002. Born in 1981, Laura was aware that she would die young, but she tried to have as normal a life as possible and she believed people did not see her as sick. She underwent a double lung transplant, but a year and a half later, the new lungs started to fail. Laura died in 2003 aged 21-years-old.

“I definitely think about after I’m gone. When I was younger, I used to try and plan my funeral, where I’d want it, how many people I’d want to be there, what it would be like. I’ve always been scared that people would forget about me. Eight years go by and, you know, someone who dies isn’t the first person you think of when you wake up necessarily. But I’ll find a way so that people won’t forget about me. You know, I’ll give friends things of mine that they’ll always have,” Laura Rothenberg wrote in one of the many audio diary entries she recorded over two years.

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Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. Reg Shapland says:

    How far forward are we my son died aged 5 over 55 years ago my grandson son has it he 25 year old the hoops that DWP made jump through all they think of is how to reduce his benefits so he worry about every little thing he even looks after his partners little girl

  2. SeetEi says:

    There are some interesting deadlines on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There’s some validity however I will take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as well http://pcslotsonline.ru

  3. Pauline Sweeney says:

    My girl passed at 24 years of age of this vile illness , her twin died at 6 months old so I have done it twice , I know ppl who have lost at least 4 children and young adults from one family with this , cf needs to do one xx

  4. Jessica says:

    My daughter has CF, she is 15 and it is getting harder. She is in this phase of not wanting to do some of her medicines and it is a constant battle with her. I pray every day to keep her healthy but this year alone, she has had 5 hospital stays. I hate this disease and i know she does.

    • Kathy cournoyer says:

      My daughter is 21 with cf, and did the same thing in her teen years, she wanted to ignore the disease and be normal, now she’s 21 and sorry she did that, she lost alot of weight and her lung function is permanently down, breaks my heart

    • Sylvia Wise says:

      Please tell your daughter to be sure to not miss any of her meds. This will be of so much benefit to her future. My son is 26 years old and we are waiting for a double lung transplant at duke Hospital now. If he had not kept up with his meds, he would not be able to be in the good condition for a transplant now. Medications are so important and the therapy and exercise to further the future. I hate this disease also. We are praying for a cure for all CF patients.

      • Shelly Hensley says:

        That is amazing, my son is 20, he’s been in and out of hospitals. His whole life, all the testing at chapel Hill. The procedures, to see how much fluid was in his lungs to test it. I stay on him every day do your best, do your piece pipe. He’s definitely a trooper. But he’s now to the point he doesn’t want to take anymore medicine, I said son this is to help you. My cousin past away from cystic fibrosis at 16. That was I believe in early 80s. Good luck to all of you. Cystic fibrosis is very awful, and it’s hard on the parents as well it’s definitely a live changing love to you all in the fight!

  5. cam says:

    This illness is one of the worst. It lets you struggle on and torture you Every step of the way my God I don’t understand why there was a this illness and why can’t we find a cure. I have cf also it’s been tring to kill me for along time and torturing me everyday of my life and getting worse. I pray for God to interven and cure this horrible illness. Or my be to take me another way. Or to take me soon so I won’t have to suffer many more years the of. The torture. what’s the answer have no purpose not able to live a life or enjoy anything. Can’t work can have children. And it’s hard to find a person who will love you threw it all who wants a terminal I’ll man that needs so much help and can’t work can’t give her children it’s a life of nothing and a burned on Ur love one’s.I just pray that I get into heaven so there will be no more cf I’ll keep praying for everyone who is suffering from cf. One piece advice while you still can do everything you want to and do them fast cf will. Catch up and then it’s to late. Belive and pray to God worship him accept him in Ur heart and believe with all Ur heart and ask forgiveness and stay on the path to him cause he has a place where there is no sickness no pain no fear just love forever and that’s were I want to go right I don’t mean don’t fight it keep the good fight but just keep praying and keep the faith that heaven is there but you have to pray and worship and really believe and accept him in Ur heart. My five year plan is to meet Jesus my Lord and savior then ask about a million questions lol. I pray I will meet you all there. I pray even after I’m gone that some day soon a cure will be found.

    • Selena says:

      This made me cry… I am praying for you Cam as well as all othere whow hAve this horrible illness. I know your struggle as my son has CF too and he has many of your same thoughts aND issues…… I pray for a cure every single day. Hang in there ♡

    • Ella Adkins says:

      My granddaughter has CF. I see her going through all of what all you suffer. She has had about 6 hospital stays this year. She is in the hospital as we speak. I do hope you have parents to encourage you to fight this walk to the end. I Pray for you all daily. Its awful that there isn’t a cure for this yet. Keep your faith, stand on his word. He said he wouldn’t put no more on us than we can stand. He is there anytime you ask him to be. God bless you is my prayer.

    • Amy says:

      I’m sorry you’re suffering so much, my son is 27 with CF, he did find the love of his life and married her a year ago, he was told he had a 2% chance of having a baby and they did 2 months ago! There is hope for happiness you have to live!!

  6. Dawn Dunn says:

    I have an 8 yr.old grandson with. Cf.When i was about 18 or 19 i had a cousin who died of cf.What i didnt know was that i would find out years later after he was born that i carry the gene n passed it on to my daughter who in return passed it to him.I have 6 kids in total and know of 2 of them who just founf out they have the gene.Since finding out aboutt him n knowing how sick hes become ive lived with alot of guilt.I guess its not my fault czuse i fidnt do anything wrong to get it other than be born but still i feel bad 4 him.Hopefully theyll find some better treatment for all the people especially the little ones suffering from this horrible disease

  7. Barbara Wappes says:

    I had a brother and sister who had CF. My sister died at the age of 16 and my brother lived to be 51. Bev was born in 1953 and Ted was born in 1950. My granddaughter is 6 and she has CF I pray that I see in my life time that CF stands for CURE FOUND.

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