The Huffington Post reports Jeremy Renner may play the lead role in a Steve McQueen biopic.

As our Mesothelioma attorneys reported recently on our Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog, McQueen is one of a number of high-profile celebrities who have died from mesothelioma. In his case, it’s been theorized that he may have been exposed to asbestos while serving in the military.

A primary characteristic of mesothelioma is its decades-long latency period. The average victim is not diagnosed with cancer until 30 to 40 years after being exposed to asbestos. The delay can make it difficult for patients to link their illness to exposure in the workplace or while serving in the military in the 1960s or 1970s.

It wasn’t until after his stint in the military that he turned to acting in 1952. Through the 1960s and 1970s he was rivaled only by Paul Newman for onscreen cool and good looks.

Remembering victims like Steve McQueen is remembering all mesothelioma victims and the fact that this deadly cancer does not discriminate. McQueen died on Nov. 7, 1980 at the age of 50 after a surgery in Chihuahua, Mexico to remove or reduce several metastatic tumors in his neck and abdomen.

His health problems began in 1978 with a persistent cough. He also began antibiotic treatment without improvement. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1979 and by 1980 the cancer was widespread.

He tried to keep his condition a secret but was outed in a front-page story in the National Enquirer. In July, he traveled to Roasarito Beach for unconventional treatments after doctors in the United States said there was nothing they could do to prolong his life.

There, controversy erupted when he received unorthodox medical treatments from a man who had a revoked orthodontics license. His case also illustrates a secondary tragedy sometimes associated with mesothelioma when unscrupulous medical providers engage in fraud or promise miracle cures.

Later that fall, McQueen traveled to Chihuahua to have a five-pound tumor removed from his abdomen, despite warnings from doctors in the United States that his heart would not survive the surgery. He died of a heart attack one day after a surgery to remove a large tumor from his neck.

In interviews, he said he may have been exposed to asbestos on movie sound stages, but he blamed the illness on massive exposure from removing asbestos from a troop ship during his time in the Marines. McQueen had been potentially exposed to asbestos throughout his life. As a young man, he worked on various construction sites, where asbestos was often used. He worked in shipyards during his time in the Marines, where he worked stripping asbestos insulation from pipes. An avid race car driver, he may also have been exposed when repairing brake linings or while wearing protective helmets and fire suits that contained the material.

Other celebrities who have died from mesothelioma include actor Paul Gleason and musician Warren Zevon.

Jeremy Renner, the actor rumored to portray McQueen, is best known for his role in “The Hurt Locker.”

Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos

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Contact The Ferraro Law Firm at (305) 375-0111 to explore your legal options with our knowledgeable legal team.