Val Kilmer's Health Problems: What Happened?

Val Kilmer's Health Problems

Much of the Internet is abuzz with talk about Val Kilmer and his health problems. The actor has spoken publicly about a diagnosis of throat cancer. Many people are wondering whether there’s more to Val Kilmer’s health problems than what we know so far. Let’s take a look at the information that’s currently out there and see what it might mean for the future of one of our favorite actors.

What Happened to Val Kilmer’s Health?

The story of Val Kilmer’s health problems started in 2013, when he announced that he’d had a tumor removed from his throat. He said it was cancerous, but also said that it was a minor procedure and that he was recovering well. It didn’t seem like there was anything to worry about at the time, and many people assumed that everything would be fine.

But in 2015, the story got more serious. Val Kilmer revealed that not only did he have throat cancer, but also that it had spread to his lymph nodes. Then in 2016, rumors began circulating on the Internet about Val Kilmer’s health problems when he appeared gaunt and ill at an event for his movie The Snowman. There were stories of an emaciated appearance and reports of him struggling to complete simple sentences as well as reports of him having trouble breathing after a meal. It seemed like things were getting pretty bad for the actor, who’d been a favorite among fans since his role in Top Gun back in 1986.

At first, Kilmer didn't want to go to the hospital. Kilmer's children eventually persuaded him to get treatment for his throat cancer, which included several rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. With the help of the surgeries, Kilmer was able to fully recover from his throat cancer and seem to go into remission. Unfortunately, his tracheostomy surgery left permanently damaged his vocal cords. As a result, he lost his ability to speak.

What Is Throat Cancer?

Throat cancer is actually a fairly common diagnosis these days, with over 35,000 people being diagnosed with it each year and over 9500 deaths annually as a result of this disease.

It is most common in individuals over the age of 50, but is still treatable. The vast majority of throat cancers are either squamous cell carcinoma or non-melanoma (basal cell) carcinomas. The most common risk factor for throat cancer is actually tobacco use, which is responsible for over 90% of all cases of this disease. Other risk factors include heavy alcohol consumption, certain treatments, chronic inflammation of the throat, excessive UV exposure, and certain infections.

Throat cancer can be treated with radiation therapy, but as with all forms of cancer treatment, there are risks involved. Radiation therapy can damage healthy tissue as well as the cancerous cells, so doctors try to treat patients in stages so they don’t have to deal with too much damage at once. It can also be difficult to get a firm grip on tumors that are located deep inside patients’ bodies, which is why doctors often try to remove them surgically when possible.

What Caused Val Kilmer’s Throat Cancer?

While there is no concrete evidence as to what caused Val Kilmer’s throat cancer, there are some risk factors that likely contributed to his contracting the disease. One of the biggest risk factors is smoking — both active and passive smoking can greatly increase your risk of throat cancer.

According to experts who write for us on health, other risk factors for throat cancer include drinking alcohol in excess, being exposed to certain chemicals, having a poor diet, and having a weakened immune system. Throat cancer can be very deadly, but it is still possible to greatly reduce your risk of contracting it by avoiding the risk factors above.

How’s Val Kilmer’s Health Condition Now

Val Kilmer's Health Problems

Kilmer said in the year 2020 that he had been cancer free for four years, but he highlighted continuous challenges with medical procedures, including the usage of a feeding tube in order to eat.

Kilmer collaborated with Sonantic, a software business based in London, in 2021 to digitally replicate his voice through the use of artificial intelligence technologies and archival audio recordings of his own speech. It took the creation of almost 40 vocal models to locate the one that was the most similar to the original recording so that it could be utilized in subsequent projects.

Joseph Kosinski, the director of the 2022 film Top Gun: Maverick, stated that despite claims to the contrary, they did not incorporate the artificial intelligence technology developed by Sonic in the film. They decided to take Kilmer's actual voice and then digitally change it to make it more understandable.


Kilmer’s diagnosis is serious, but it doesn’t mean his career is over. The actor has been upfront about his diagnosis and has been taking steps to deal with his cancer that are both standard and experimental. It’s important to remember that cancer is an ongoing battle. It’s something that can be managed and even defeated, but it requires constant vigilance and care.