Celebrities' Serious Diagnoses
Almost 18 years ago, one of the most celebrated athletes of our time received a life-changing diagnosis. Magic Johnson was at the top of his game, playing basketball from the Los Angeles Lakers, when he got a call from the team doctor.
The doctor told Magic to drop everything and come in right away. "I got a flight, went back to L.A., went to his office, and he began to tell me that I was HIV positive," he says. "You're just stunned when you hear some news that is so devastating like that. You're just in disbelief and really can't believe that it's you who has HIV."
Magic says the drive from the doctor's office to his home, where he'd have to tell his wife he had HIV, was the hardest thing he's done in his life. "As I began to tell her, she started to cry," he says. "She didn't know what that meant for her and our son, E.J."
A few days later, Magic found out his wife, Cookie, and their son didn't have the HIV virus. "God really blessed me," he says. "When they told me she didn't have HIV, as well as my son, I knew that I probably would live for a long time. Because if my wife had HIV, my baby had HIV, I probably couldn't take it."