5 Musicians That Toured With Diabetes
While life on the road can be tough on musicians, it’s especially challenging for those battling diabetes. Some musicians have to check their blood sugar levels just minutes before shows are about to begin.
While managing diabetes can be especially demanding on tour, these five musicians managed to make it work while entertaining millions of fans around the world.
1. Johnny Cash
Nicknamed “The Man in Black,” the prolific songwriter released 96 albums between 1954 and 2003. In 1997 Cash was diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes, and he passed away from complications of the disease in September of 2003.
2. Brad Wilk
The drummer for rap-metal pioneers Rage Against the Machine was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 after feeling sluggish and having blurry vision. Wilk managed to continue touring the globe by carrying around a large backpack full of the foods he needed to help control his condition.
3. James Brown
The “Godfather of Soul” had a career spanning six decades and was responsible for classics like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” Incredibly fearful of needles, Brown needed assistance while taking medication for his diabetes. The disease contributed to his passing in 2006.
4. Nick Jonas
One of the trio that made up the Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas helped his band sell over 17 million records worldwide before the group broke up in 2013. In 2005 he noticed he was overly thirsty, grumpy and losing weight rapidly. He was diagnosed shortly after with type 1 diabetes and would check his blood sugar levels a dozen times per day while on tour to keep his health in check.
5. Rick James
Known for songs like “Super Freak” and “You and I,” James battled a myriad of health conditions during his lifetime while releasing 13 studio albums. He eventually passed away in 2004 due to complications brought on by diabetes.