Roger Moore’s Health Problems & Cancer Battle: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Roger Moore, Live and Let Die, Roger Moore tributes

Roger Moore on the set of Live and Let Die. (Getty)

James Bond actor Roger Moore has died at the age of 89.

Moore died this week after a short battle with cancer, but this was not the only time that he had encountered serious health issues.

Here’s what you need to know about the health problems of Roger Moore.


1. As a Kid, He Suffered From Numerous Illnesses Including Bronchial Pneumonia

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Roger Moore in 1955. (Getty)

Roger Moore had some health issues going back to when he was a kid. In his book My Word is My Bond, he explains, “Illness played a great – and unwelcome – role in my early life.”

Moore goes on to talk about the fact that he suffered from mumps and a raging sore throat when he was young, and so he had to have his tonsils removed and adenoids scraped.

“I still vividly remember looking up from the operating table upon which I’d been placed, at the big, round lights glowering down at me and the people wearing green masks standing all around,” he writes. “A lady with a sieve filled with cotton wool gazed down into my eyes and then placed the sieve over my face. I felt suffocated by a strong foul-sweet odour, which pulled me down into a long tunnel with yellow and red rings flying at my face. The sound – which I can still hear in my imagination today – was a boom-bam-boom-bam, gradually getting faster and faster as I fell down into hell.”

Also in his childhood, Roger Moore contracted double bronchial pneumonia, and he says that he was so sick that he was not moved to a hospital and was instead taken care of at home.

“I have a clear memory of this lady putting what she called an ‘anti-flagestion’ poultice on my chest,” he writes in his book. “I have tried to find out what exactly an ‘anti-flagestion’ poultice is, but to no avail; maybe it is the confusion of a child’s mind. Whatever it was called, the grey, earthy-looking mess that was spread on lint and placed on my chest and back burned like hell.”

Moore says that the doctor told his parents that they should prepare for the possibility that Roger would not make it through the illness. Moore also says that his father sold his motorbike in order to pay for his son’s medical bills.

That was not the end of Moore’s childhood medical issues, though. He says that he once complained that his penis was sore, and upon being taken to the doctor, it was decided that he would need to be circumcised.

“Having vomited for what seemed an eternity after the surgery, my body was left aching and, eventually, starving,” he writes in My Word is My Bond. “No food that day, they said; all that was allowed was that my fevered lips were moistened occasionally with damp cotton wool.”


2. He Was Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer in 1993

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Roger Moore meets fans and signs copies of his book ‘Bond on Bond’ at HMV, Oxford Street on October 22, 2012 in London, England. (Getty)

In 1993, when Roger Moore was in his 60s, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In the book My Word is My Bond, Roger Moore says that around this time, he was receiving regular prostate checks just to be safe. Then, one sunny September morning in Beverly Hills, his doctor arrived at the front door, as the news was bad enough that he didn’t want to say it over the phone.

“Strangely, I started to feel so sorry for him, as he had bad news to impart and clearly did not know how to start to tell me,” he writes. “His eyes began to well up with tears and I could only make a joke, saying something fatuous.”

Once again, then, Roger Moore found himself in the hospital, this time receiving surgery for prostate cancer.

“I tumbled over and over into a wall of self-pity and anger,” Moore says. “It was the sight of my body limping its way to the bathroom with a great plastic bag attached to the other end of the garden hose that gave me the despair of inadequacy. I felt emasculated.”

Luckily, though, Moore’s surgery was successful.

Moore has said that it was around this time that he started to reevaluate much of his life due to the health scare. That included his marriage, and he decided to leave his wife, Luisa Mattioli, for a woman named Kristina Tholstrup with whom he had bonded during his time suffering from cancer.


3. He Had Pneumonia in 2013 & Had to Learn How to Walk Again

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Roger Moore attends the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 worldwide celebration of the work and life of the famous Danish storyteller and poet, at the British Library on September 15, 2004 in London. (Getty)

Roger Moore continued to have some additional health problems in recent years.

In 2013, Moore contracted a very serious case of pneumonia. According to Express, it took doctors quite a while to find the right antibiotic to treat Moore, and by the time he recovered, he had to learn how to walk again. He also lost a lot of his hair.

“It took them quite a while to discover the right antibiotic,” he said at the time. “I had so many antibiotics pumped into me and was bedbound, and it ended up I had to be taught to walk, literally. And also my hair started to fall out rapidly, which it has done ever since.”

This incident was not covered in Moore’s book My Word is My Bond, as it occurred after his memoir was written, but his health scare almost certainly made him think back on his time as a kid battling double bronchial pneumonia.


4. He Was Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes in 2013

Roger Moore meets fans and signs copies of his book ‘Bond on Bond’ at HMV, Oxford Street on October 22, 2012 in London, England. (Getty)

Also in 2013, Roger Moore was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

This meant that he had to give up drinking alcohol.

“I make a very good dry martini but I’m not allowed to drink them any more,” Moore said, according to The Daily Mail. “No more sugar, no alcohol. I get to taste the wine and I can make a little sip last an hour. I enjoy it much more. I remember a lot more of what happened.”

Moore also said at the time that he hopes he has advanced warning before he dies so that he can spend the last 24 hours drinking alcohol and eating ice cream.

‘When I’m told I’ve got 24 hours to go, I’m going to have a couple of dry martinis with Tanqueray gin – not vodka – and a couple of choc ices with plain chocolate on the outside and white, white vanilla on the inside – oh, and baked beans,” he said.


5. He Died After a Battle With Cancer

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Roger Moore Moore and his wife Kristina Tholstrup arrive at the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 Monte Carlo Television Festival held at Grimaldi Forum on June 10, 2010 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Getty)

Roger Moore died on May 23rd, 2017 after a battle with cancer.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer,” his family said in a statement today. “The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.”

It was not publicly known before this week that Roger Moore was battling cancer.