12 World Leaders Hiding Grave Illnesses


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Politicians are always in the public spotlight. All this attention is usually pretty glamorous, but sometimes it can serve to distract people from the important things like their health and well-being. For years, politicians have felt the need to hide some of their health issues in order to avoid worrying their constituents. We can’t blame them for that! But until now, many of their illnesses and diseases have remained hidden from public eye. But we dug deep to find the twelve politicians with the most shocking secret medical histories! So, without further ado, check out these 12 world leaders with top secret diseases!

#12 Richard Nixon


As it turns out, the Watergate scandal wasn’t the only thing causing stress in President Richard Nixon’s life! His friends and family have confirmed that he suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. After leaving office, however, he was able to learn the skills necessary to cope with his disease. Kudos to him!

Keep reading to slide 1 to learn about another mentally ill ruler!

#11 Abraham Lincoln



America’s 16th President suffered from an incredibly rare genetic disorder! Marfan’s Syndrome causes abnormalities in the heart, vision problems, and muscle pain, and can eventually lead to sudden death. It also causes its victims to be unusually tall and slender… It sounds like Abraham Lincoln fits the bill!

#10 Margaret Thatcher



England’s Iron Lady unfortunately suffered from several strokes soon after leaving her position as Prime Minister. These neurological episodes left her with severe intellectual deficits, though she kept a low profile until she died of another horrible stroke at home in 2013. Another British politician is on slide 7!

#9 Napoleon Bonaparte


French General Napoleon Bonaparte is another famous leader who struggled with mental illness! He suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as well as an unspecified mood disorder. In addition, his unusually short stature has caused historians to suspect that he may have had other medical issues. It’s likely we will never know for sure, though. Dying for more French trivia? Check out slide 2!

#8 Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Franklin Delano Roosevelt kept a shining public image, but he was secretly suffering from severe health problems. He became ill with Polio in his 30s and was left with permanent paralysis in both legs. He used a wheelchair, but because of the lack of television cameras and traveling press at the time, the vast majority of the public had no idea he was disabled!

#7 Winston Churchill


This British Prime Minister suffered from Bipolar Disorder for much of his adult life. Fortunately, his illness was well-controlled with medication. Still, he experienced common bouts of Clinical Depression, which he referred to as a “Black Dog” in his life. It’s pretty impressive that he managed to lead England through World War II while struggling with mental illness!

#6 John F. Kennedy



Uh oh! There’s trouble in Camelot! President John F. Kennedy suffered from Osteoporosis, a condition that causes weakness in the bones. This left him with severe back pain. Those close to him say that he became addicted to pain pills and relied on them the entire time he was in the White House.

#5 George H.W. Bush



President George H.W. Bush struggled with Graves Disease while he was Commander in Chief. This is when the thyroid gland overproduces hormones, resulting in weight loss, heat sensitivity, anxiety, and a tremor. Even though it can be managed with medication, it doesn’t sound like something that the leader of the free world should have to deal with!

#4 John McCain


009--4-john-mccain-564358US Senator John McCain suffered some serious atrocities while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. His captors broke both his legs and arms multiple times, and he still walks with a limp. It doesn’t seem to stop him, though- he keeps a busy schedule in public service, and even found the time to run for President in 2008.

#3 Bill Clinton


Former US President Bill Clinton was once known as the “Fast Food President,” and his love for the greasy fare left him needing a quadruple bypass. After undergoing the procedure, though, he began to take his health more seriously. Rumor has it that he follows a strict plant-based diet these days!

#2 Paul Deschanel


French President Paul Deschanel had a larger than life personality, though part of this can be attributed to his diagnosis of schizophrenia! His hallucinations caused him to do several unusual things like jumping out of windows and running into lakes fully clothed! Fortunately, no one was ever harmed by his antics, and he died only a few years after leaving office.

#1 Joseph Stalin


He helped defeat the Nazi Party, but he struggled to defeat the demons in his mind. Russian ruler Joseph Stalin suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an illness that causes people with poor self-esteem to act in grandiose ways. That may help explain some of his actions, though whether or not you feel sorry for this dictator is up to you.

We have to admit… If we were politicians, we might feel the need to hide some of these diseases too! After all, everyone’s a critic these days. Still, some of these revelations were downright shocking and incredibly interesting! The next time you’re watching a famous world leader on the TV, take a minute to think about all the medical issues they could be hiding in order to avoid alarming the public. That’s either an extreme love for country, or a really scary omission! If you enjoyed this article, press like, comment, and send it to all the history buffs in your life!