TV & Movies

What illness does Ryan O'Neal have?

LEGENDARY actor Ryan O'Neal, best known for the 1970 tearjerker Love Story, has fought against cancer for two decades.

The star was first diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia and later with prostate cancer.

What illness does Ryan O'Neal have?

The charmingly boyish actor suffers from multiple health issues, starting in 2001 with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

The cancer typically affects older adults and it is a slowly progressing and uncommon type of blood-cell cancer that begins in the bone marrow.

O'Neal spokeswoman Dede Binder told Reuters in 2001 that "He has chronic leukemia. It is treatable and he is doing very well."

She added that the diagnosis is not life-threatening and O'Neal has already undergone treatment, but the spokeswoman stopped short of elaborating on the kind of treatment O'Neal has been receiving.

The actor also has been diagnosed with Stage 2 prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting some 240,000 men every year.

“Recently I was diagnosed with Stage 2 prostate cancer. Although I was shocked and stunned by the news, I feel fortunate that it was detected early and according to my extraordinary team of doctors the prognosis is positive for a full recovery,” the actor said in a statement obtained by Reuters in 2012.

“I am deeply grateful for the support of my friends and family during this time, and I urge everyone to get regular check-ups, as early detection is the best defense against this horrible disease that has afflicted so many,” he added.

Is his health deteriorating?

Close friends of O'Neal revealed to RadarOnline.com that “Ryan’s deteriorated to the point where it’s beyond hiding.” 

“He’s lost weight and seems so frail and can’t walk without the help of a cane," a source told the outlet.

O’Neal has battled a plethora of ailments and diseases, including cancer, diabetes, leukemia, a bad heart, wrecked shoulder, and sepsis, according to the news agency.

What's more, the emotional toll of losing the love of his life – actress Farrah Fawcett – from anal cancer in 2009 has also attributed to his health decline as well.

“Besides stumbling out to the beach to watch the sunset, he doesn’t have anything to look forward to,” the source said.

“Acting and Farrah were his two passions in life and they’re both gone.”

What happened between him and Farrah Fawcett?

Actress Farrah Fawcett with O'Neal was anything but fairytale.

Fawcett became an international sex symbol in the 1970s for her famous swimsuit poster and her role as one of a trio of female private detectives on the hit television show Charlie’s Angels.

The pair had an off-and-on relationship that spanned three decades and produced a son, Redmond O'Neal, in 1985.

They rekindled their relationship shortly before Fawcett died from cancer at the age 62 in 2009. 

After Fawcett's death, O'Neal struggled to pick up the pieces of his life. In 2012, O'Neal published Both of Us: My Life with Farrah.

O'Neal told The Hollywood Reporter thar writing the book was "cathartic," giving him an opportunity to explain his life with Fawcett and "paint a clearer picture to everyone, including me."

When did Ryan O'Neal reunite with his family?

O’Neal has four children – Tatum, Redmond, Patrick and Griffin – with three different women and his relationships with them are complicated.

In 2004, Tatum detailed her dysfunctional relationship with her father in her searing autobiography A Paper Life. 

Ryan and Tatum starred together in 1973's Paper Moon, which made Tatum the youngest person to win an Academy Award at just 10 years old.

Meanwhile, Redmond was arrested on attempted murder charges in May 2018, and deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial last year, according to Radar Online.


On Sunday, O'Neal grandson Sean McEnroe posted a family photo of him with his 56-year-old mother Tatum O'Neal alongside his siblings, Kevin, and Emily.

The caption read: "This is one of the most memorable photos of my life. The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003."

It continued: "I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship. The entire West Coast is burning, but if the O’Neals can reconcile, truly anything is possible 🙏🏻☺️💛#Reconciliation #Forgiveness #Wholeness #Love #Family."

This is one of the most memorable photos of my life. The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003. I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship. The entire West Coast is burning, but if the O’Neals can reconcile, truly anything is possible 🙏🏻☺️💛#Reconciliation #Forgiveness #Wholeness #Love #FAMILY

A post shared bySean McEnroe (@sean__mcenroe) on

O'Neal told PEOPLE Farrah Fawcett’s death in 2009 played “a very big role” in their reconciliation.

“She brought us back together,” Tatum said in 2010.

She also revealed it was her father who extended the olive branch.

“He told me he’s sorry. He’s all I have in terms of family, and I needed him in my life,” she shared at the time. “My dad was absolutely everything to me.”

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