Famous People with Epilepsy

Notable people throughout history have lived with epilepsy- politicians, kings, musicians, actors, athletes and more.  Following is a list of people who it is thought have/had epilepsy.


Pop icon Prince struggled with epilepsy in childhood.

Died at 57 (1958-2016)

Profession: Film Score Composer, Record producer, Songwriter, Musician, Film Producer, + more

Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne revealed he has epilepsy.  He says he doesn't know what it feels like to have a seizure because he blacks out.

Profession: Record producer, Businessperson, Songwriter, Rapper, Entrepreneur, + more

Elton John
Elton John struggles with epilepsy.  It is thought his epilepsy was induced by his years of drug use.

Profession: Record producer, Pianist, Television producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, + more

Danny Glover
Danny Glover has epilepsy and regularly had seizures for a 20 year period.

Profession: Activist, Television producer, Film Producer, Actor, Voice acting, + more

Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great had epilepsy. At the time is was diagnosed as the "sacred disease."

Died at 33 (355 BC-322 BC)

Adam Horovitz
Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz has epilepsy and even experienced a grand mal seizure.

Profession: Film Score Composer, Record producer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Rapper, + more

Hugo Weaving
The "Matrix" star Hugo Weaving was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 13.  He doesn't drive a car because of his high risk of seizure.

Profession: Actor, Voice acting

Neil Young
Musician Neil Young was diagnosed with epilepsy in his childhood.

Profession: Activist, Film Score Composer, Record producer, Songwriter, Musician, + more

Amy Lee
Evanescence singer Amy Lee has epilepsy and regularly advocates for awareness of the disorder.

Profession: Film Score Composer, Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, Singer, + more

Theodore Roosevelt
26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt struggled with epilepsy.

Died at 61 (1858-1919)

Profession: Statesman, Politician, Police officer, Historian, Polymath, + more

Lindsey Buckingham
Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham has mild epilepsy.

Profession: Record producer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter, + more

Napoleon Bonaparte
Many books suggest Napoleon Bonaparte suffered from epilepsy throughout his life.

Died at 52 (1769-1821)

Profession: Politician, Military Officer

Lewis Carroll
Writer Lewis Carroll used his epilepsy to inspire several of the effects Alice felt in his classic book "Alice in Wonderland."

Died at 66 (1832-1898)

Profession: Mathematician, Novelist, Author, Writer, Cleric, + more

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe suffered from seizures. Historians differ their opinions on whether the seizures were caused by epilepsy or by alcohol withdrawal.

Died at 40 (1809-1849)

Profession: Magazine editor, Poet, Literary critic, Novelist, Author, + more

Julius Caesar
It is thought Julius Caesar had epilepsy because he had seizures on at least four occasions.

Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

Profession: Politician, Author

Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy as a result of an injury.

Profession: Activist, Writer

Florence Griffith Joyner
Olympian Florence Griffith-Joyner died in her sleep because of an epileptic seizure.

Died at 39 (1959-1998)

Profession: Actor, Track and field athlete

Truman Capote
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" writer Truman Capote had epilepsy thought to be induced by drug and alcohol use.

Died at 60 (1924-1984)

Profession: Novelist, Screenwriter, Actor, Writer, Playwright

According to historians, Caligula suffered from epilepsy since childhood.

Died at 29 (12-41)

Profession: Roman emperor

Susan Boyle
Singing sensation Susan Boyle says she had a difficult childhood because of her epilepsy. 

Profession: Musician, Actor, Singer, Artist

Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh suffered from seizures doctors believed were cause by temporal lobe epilepsy.

Died at 37 (1853-1890)

Profession: Painter, Artist

George Gershwin
Composer George Gershwin was diagnosed with epilepsy. 

Died at 39 (1898-1937)

Profession: Songwriter, Pianist, Composer

Margaux Hemingway
Actress Margaux Hemingway had from epilepsy from the age of seven.

Died at 42 (1954-1996)

Profession: Model, Actor

Jonathan Davis
Korn front man Jonathan Davis believes his epilepsy was induced by years of drug use.

Profession: Singer, Songwriter

Many researchers believe Socrates had temporal lobe epilepsy.

Profession: Philosopher

Many historians believe Michelangelo had from epilepsy.

Died at 89 (1475-1564)

Profession: Sculptor, Painter, Poet, Architect, Artist, + more

Richard Burton
Actor Richard Burton had epilepsy most of his adult life.  He self medicated with alcohol.

Died at 59 (1925-1984)

Profession: Actor

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was believed to have epilepsy.

Died at 58 (1812-1870)

Profession: Novelist, Author, Writer, Playwright

Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott had epilepsy.  Occasionally he had seizures on stage and his comedy partner Lou Costello would carry him off.

Died at 79 (1895-1974)

Profession: Comedian, Film Producer, Actor, Vaudeville Performer

James Madison
James Madison was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Died at 85 (1751-1836)

Profession: Politician, Author, Lawyer

John Roberts
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts had several seizures and is believed to have epilepsy.

Profession: Judge, Politician, Musician, Author, Actor, + more

Neil Abercrombie
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie suffers from epilepsy.  He regularly campaigns to increase funding for the disorder.

Profession: Politician

Gustave Flaubert
Historians believe Gustave Flaubert suffered from epilepsy. 

Died at 59 (1821-1880)

Profession: Novelist, Writer, Playwright

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Dostoyevsky kept records of his seizures for the last twenty years of his life.

Died at 60 (1821-1881)

Profession: Novelist, Author, Essayist, Writer, Engineer

Tiki Barber
Football star Tiki Barber suffered from seizures until age five.

Profession: American football player

Agatha Christie
Many epilepsy experts believe author Agatha Christie suffered from the disorder.

Died at 86 (1890-1976)

Profession: Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright

Ian Curtis
Joy Division front man Ian Curtis suffered from crippling seizures.  The disorder is thought to be one of the reasons Curtis took his own life.

Died at 24 (1956-1980)

Profession: Songwriter, Musician, Singer

Alan Faneca
Football star Alan Faneca was diagnosed at age 15.

Profession: American football player

Rik Mayall
Comic actor Rik Mayall was diagnosed after severe head injuries.

Died at 56 (1958-2014)

Profession: Comedian, Screenwriter, Actor, Writer

Martin Kemp
Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp has been battling two brain tumors that have left him with epilepsy.

Profession: Bassist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Film Producer, Actor, + more

Jimmy Reed
Musician Jimmy Reed died of an epileptic seizure at age 51.

Died at 51 (1925-1976)

Michael Wilding
Actor Michael Wilding died from a head injury caused by an epileptic seizure.

Died at 67 (1912-1979)

Profession: Actor

Pete Duel

Actor Pete Duel developed epilepsy after being in a car crash.

Died at 31 (1940-1971)

Profession: Actor

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Historians believe composer Peter Tchaikovsky suffered from epilepsy.

Died at 53 (1840-1893)

Profession: Composer, Writer

Richard Jobson
Singer and film maker Richard Jobson was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Profession: Footballer

Tony Coelho
Tony Coelho's experience with epilepsy drove him to be the primary sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Profession: Politician

Grover Cleveland Alexander
Baseball great Grover Cleveland Alexander had frequent seizures later in life.

Died at 63 (1887-1950)

Profession: Baseball player

Greg Walker
Baseball player Greg Walker alarmed his teammates when he had a seizure during practice.

Profession: Baseball player, Coach

Hal Lanier
Baseball player Hal Lanier was diagnosed with epilepsy as an adult.

Profession: Manager, Baseball player

Chris Knox
New Zealand musician Chris Know used his experience with epilepsy to inspire the album "Seizure."

Profession: Musician

Mike Skinner
Streets front man Mike Skinner has suffered from epilepsy since age seven.

Profession: Record producer, Rapper, Musician, Actor, Singer

Ida McKinley
First lady Ida McKinley became completely dependent on her husband after she developed epilepsy.


Source: ranker.com.  Updated 8/17