Larry Hagman developed a serious alcohol addiction from age fifteen. His heavy drinking lasted for about twenty years, having a serious impact on his liver. His drinking during the filming of “Dallas” created challenges for his role, but he continued to successfully act. Perhaps he was a functional alcoholic, because he never suffered an illness, had good relationships with his wife and family, never experienced DTs, suffered blackouts or was sloppy drunk. He drank, and drank heavily, but the drinking never truly stopped his work or his life. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse was taking a toll on his body.
In 1992, the damage alcohol had on his liver manifested as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis was severe enough for the doctor to warn that his heavy drinking would cause his death in a very short period of time. Larry stopped drinking immediately. At the time of this diagnosis, Larry didn’t know his health would take a turn for the worse and that a liver transplant would be necessary in order for him to live.
Larry carefully monitored his liver for possible tumors. Unfortunately, one tumor appeared and the prognosis was cancer. The news was devastating because until this point, he hoped his liver function would improve. Larry would need a liver transplant or die. For a while, his health seemed stable, as he continued to exercise and take part in activities, but then the disease advanced and he had an additional procedure to buy him time until he could have a liver transplant.
A perfect match liver was found and the operation took place. During the operation, the extent of the damage to his liver became obvious. Without this liver, he would have had but a few months of life remaining. Larry has bounced back from his liver issues and is healthy and cancer-free.