Health And FitnessHistory

Top 10 Famous People with Marfan Syndrome across the World

Even though it may seem like a disease off the surface of Mars, majority realized that it is not. Before heading towards the list of famous people with Marfan syndrome, let’s shed some light on the notion ‘what is Marfan syndrome’. Marfan syndrome is not, in fact, a disease at all. Marfan Syndrome is mainly a connective tissue disorder in the human body. The cement holding the body in position is connective tissue. In the body, each organ has connective tissue. Even blood, in reality, is connective tissue.

The primary operation of it is to link parts of an organ, blood vessel or a joint together. Fibrillin, one of the constituent fibers of connective tissue, is what goes for a toss in individuals suffering from Marfan’s. Since Fibrillin is faulty, Marfan Syndrome individuals appear to grow taller than the others, have longer arms, legs, flat feet, and joints that are more elastic than average. While obviously a benefit, old problems in the form of medical complications tend to occur and impact joints, heart and lungs, eyes, etc., as such things grow.

History has quite a number of individuals who have been (and still are) victims of this specific disorder. As the following list will show, they were not, in any sense, deterred in their road to success by the existence of this disorder.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln - Famous People with Marfan Syndrome
Credit: Corbis via Getty Images

The slim stature of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, combined with the long head, is a figure which is difficult not to consider. Adding to that the long, thin nose with a not-so-broad chest and bam! We have Marfan syndrome! Today, although the aforementioned symptoms are those of classical Marfans and even though his relatives have been widely speculated to be suffering from the same condition, there have been no conclusive proof to confirm the statements. And obviously, in this situation, the malnourishment claim is a no-sticker!

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar - Famous People with Marfan Syndrome

How Caesar was represented in the flesh would be known to those who are familiar with the Asterix comics. The world’s greatest leader and emperor, long and skinny with long fingers, was allegedly a person with Marfan syndrome. As we all know, though, it did not deter him from becoming the tremendous general, the greater leader and emperor. Empires were forced to bow down and surrender to Julius Caesar’s force, the man who suffered from connective tissue frailtie!! And shockingly enough, at the hands of his most loyal aide and not any of the aforementioned circumstances, he fell prey to death!

Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden

Surprised to find his name on the list of famous people with Marfan syndrome. This man was not free from many himself, having been the reason for half of the world’s ailments; one of which was Marfans Sydrome. The fact that he despite suffering from the syndrome was testimony to his long fingers that prevented the hearts of many around the globe and his long bony face that made it to the top of all the most-wanted profiles. He was also reportedly unable to walk and sit straight for long stretches. As we all realize, nevertheless, the SEALS put a claim on his life long before it was possible for the disorder.

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Bradford Cox

Bradford Cox - Famous People with Marfan Syndrome

Bradford Cox is a man of multiple qualities, a member of the rock band Deerhunter, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor by occupation. He first began recognizing the symptoms of his condition at around the age of 10-12. He made very few friends as a consequence of Marfan and the subsequent awkwardness he endured, and music was his sole refuge. Not only did he become a popular musician in the face of all odds, he also won his first large screen appearance in the internationally acclaimed film “Dallas Buyers’ Club.”

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

Unquestionably, considering an individual who has won 18 Olympic gold medals and has 39 world records in his name, in such a list of illness, a shock placement in this list seems rather fantastic. Yet, it is true. He is probably the greatest swimmer of all times, rumored to be one of the athletes with Marfan syndrome. He stands at an impressive height of 6’4 “and has an even more impressive 6’7” arm span! As he has admitted, his knees are hyper-mobile or, in other words, double-jointed. Phelps has been under close scrutiny by physicians from John’s Hopkins for quite some time due to these exceedingly common symptoms.

John Tavener

John Tavener - Famous People with Marfan Syndrome

Next one of the famous people with Marfan syndrome is a British composer known for his works such as, “The Whale”, “Song for Athene”, etc. Throughout his life, much of which was taken up by music, a host of illnesses ranging from stroke to heart disease to tumor, all between the ages of 30 and 40. He was diagnosed with the condition in 1990 and had already endured two serious heart attacks before that. In the winter of 2013, John Tavener passed away at the age of 69.



The list even contains, as shocking as it might look, the Egyptian pharaoh, King Tut, who purportedly also suffered from this condition. His early death, at the tender age of 19, sparked rumors among historians about his family’s disease. For a decade, he governed. Years of research, CT scans and DNA tests of his mummy have shed light on the prospect of Marfan syndrome being a victim. There was a curved spine of the boy king, extraordinarily high height, and thin extremities also demonstrated the same. It is presumed that the father and mother of Tutankhamun both exhibited similar traits.

Jonathan Larson

Jonathan Larson - Famous People with Marfan Syndrome

Jonathan Larson, renowned for his compositions and also a playwright by occupation, is one of the famous people with Marfan syndrome. What cut short Jonathan Larson’s career was the fact that his Marfan syndrome went undiagnosed. Much of Larson’s reputation was earned posthumously. His reason of death was due to Marfans-aortic dissection problems. Although Larson often used to complain of chest pain, for a very long period of time his condition went mainly unnoticed. It was only before his musical show “Rent” debuted that he left for his heavenly abode.

Vincent Schiavelli

Vincent Schiavelli

Although not recognised by name to many, his personality in “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” was certainly not familiar to a few individuals. He was among the first of the most prominent individuals to be diagnosed with this disease. The untimely death of this Italian-American actor who fell prey to the disorder through lung collapse was attributed to Marfan syndrome. Vincent Schiavelli was a founder of the Marfan National Foundation, which helped people deal with and raise awareness of this condition.

Niccolo Paganini

Niccolo Paganini

Intriguingly, for Rachmaninov, Paganini’s works were the source of motivation! Having lived more than 100 years before Rachmaninov, Paganini was the inspiration for one of Rachmaninov’s most famous compositions, The Rhapsody. Paganini was a musical genius, it goes without saying, but his illness (Marfan Syndrome) provided him with some physical gifts that made him one of the most prominent violinists of all time. His long, slender fingers gave him a mind-boggling violin range of 3 octaves! He is one of the famous musicians with Marfan syndrome.

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