How did Val Kilmer get sick? Inside the actor's diagnosis and gruelling recovery from throat cancer

Val Kilmer with his daughter (Image via Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Val Kilmer with his daughter (Image via Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Abhirup Sengupta

Amazon Prime Video will release the much-hyped Val Kilmer documentary on August 6. The documentary, titled "Val", will explore the Batman Forever star’s battle with throat cancer.

On August 4 (Wednesday), Kilmer’s children spoke to Extra about the actor’s health. Val’s daughter Mercedes said,

“He’s doing well… Still recovering... The recovery process is just as grueling as the actual disease.”

While Val Kilmer’s son Jack said,

“Everyone has been so supportive; it makes me emotional. It’s really beautiful to see people come together.”

The Amazon Prime Video documentary will also showcase the star’s history with smoking and developing cancer.


How did Val Kilmer get throat cancer?

Val Kilmer in the "Val (2021)" trailer (Image via Amazon Studios/A24)
Val Kilmer in the "Val (2021)" trailer (Image via Amazon Studios/A24)

Val Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015. Initially, the "Top Gun" star denied his diagnosis and refuted "Ant-Man" star Michael Douglas’ claims about Kilmer being sick. However, in 2017, the 61-year-old actor admitted that he had throat cancer via a Reddit Q&A session.

According to the Daily Mail, Kilmer secretly started smoking when he was eight. The habit reportedly ended in an addiction. In 2017, the actor had to go through a tracheostomy as part of his treatment. The procedure includes partial or complete removal of the trachea, which left Kilmer needing a voice box to communicate.


In the documentary, the "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" star says (via his son acting as the narrator),

“My name is Val Kilmer. I’m an actor. I’ve lived a magical life, and I’ve captured quite a bit of it. I was recently diagnosed with throat cancer. I’m still recovering, and it is difficult to talk and to be understood.”

He further adds,

“I’m still recovering, and it’s difficult to talk and be understood.”

The documentary will cover Val Kilmer’s journey from his early days to starring in hit films throughout the 1980s and 1990s, to his recovery from cancer. "The Doors" star will tell his story through his massive library of personal footage dating back to the beginning of his career.

Edited by Sabine Algur
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