Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel
Lil Wayne is not new to the music scene. The Young Money rapper has had records going platinum since 1999 and is currently involved with some of the most popular pop stars recording today. So why did it take 14 years and a near-death experience for Lil Wayne to finally reveal to the world that he's epileptic?
The announcement came after Weezy suffered from a series of severe seizures and was brought to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Hospital's intensive care unit for several days. Many speculated his critical condition was a result of a codeine overdose, but he recently admitted to the radio station Power 108 that he's been suffering from seizures his whole life.
"The bad news is I'm an epileptic. I'm prone to seizures," he says. "This isn’t my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh seizure. I’ve had a bunch of seizures, ya’ll just never hear about them. But this time it got real bad ’cause I had three of them in a row and on the third one, my heart rate went down to like 30 percent. Basically, I could’ve died, so that is why it was so serious."
Lil Wayne isn't the only celebrity who has been battling health problems in the public eye -- and creating awareness about an illness. Robin Roberts went through a very public bone marrow transplant and recovery to treat her rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, and Valerie Harper went on a press tour to talk about the brain cancer diagnosis she received in January. Then there's Michael J. Fox, who is tackling Parkinson's disease by starring in an NBC sitcom based on his own life and struggle with the disease.
While celebrities shouldn't feel like they are forced to tell the public every element of their lives, they also shouldn't feel like they'll be shunned if they choose to reveal such personal struggles. Does Lil Wayne being epileptic take away from his bad-boy image? No -- but it probably makes other people with epilepsy feel like they now have a strong, successful ally as they personally cope with the disorder. Weezy's confession was surprising, but also one that should make him proud. Celebs are humans, too -- and it's their flaws and problems that make them more sympathetic and relatable.