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Peter Jennings

Lung cancer might not get as much attention as other forms of cancer, but it kills more men and women than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. In 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 156,953 people in the United States died from lung cancer, including 86,736 men and 70,217 women.

The disease has claimed the lives of many famous celebrities – but keep reading to the end to meet one famous athlete who fought lung cancer – and won…

TV reporter and anchorman Peter Jennings covered some of the biggest events of the latter half of the 20th Century, including the erection of the Berlin Wall and its destruction.

A heavy smoker for decades, he died of lung cancer in 2005. He was 67.

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Steve McQueen

Famous for bad-boy roles in a series of hit movies, including “The Great Escape” and “Bullit,” Steve McQueen died in Mexico while being treated for asbestos-related lung cancer in 1980.

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Tammy Faye Messner

Though she gained fame as the wife of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye Messner became even more famous for her optimism and courage after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

Despite long odds, she survived for years after the diagnosis, finally succumbing in 2007.

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Dana Reeve

“Superman” actor Christopher Reeve died in 2004. His widow, Dana Reeve, was diagnosed with lung cancer less than a year later. She died the following year.

She had never been a smoker.

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Lou Rawls

Though he’s best remembered as the deep, silky voice behind hits like “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” Lou Rawls was also a successful film and TV actor.

He died of lung cancer in 2006, at the age of 72.

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