For several months now, rumors that actor Val Kilmer is suffering from throat cancer have been circulating on social media.
Kilmer has repeatedly refuted those reports, but sadly, there's growing cause for concern with regard to the actor's health.
In addition to his status as a bonafide screen icon, Kilmer has won the respect of fans on the strength of his one-man show, which consists of a monologue performed in the character of American literary legend Mark Twain.
After a year of sold-out shows in Los Angeles, Kilmer had planned to take the show on the road this month, but he was forced to cancel at the last minute due to unspecified health problems.
TMZ has obtained footage of Kilmer having difficulty speaking while addressing a crowd in LA and informing them that he would not be able to perform due to his breathing difficulties.
The video is upsetting, but Kilmer maintains that he's merely suffering from oral health issues that have resulted in a swollen tongue.
Kilmer disappeared from the public eye for several months last year.
When he re-emerged he was only photographed wearing scarves that covered his neck, which led to reports that Kilmer had undergone life-saving surgery.
Rumors about the actor's illness first resurfaced when cancer survivor Michael Douglas spoke about Kilmer's health in an interview last week:
"Val was a wonderful guy who is dealing with exactly what I had [tongue cancer]," Douglas told journalist Jonathan Ross.
"My prayers are with him."
"That's why you haven't heard too much from Val lately."
"I love Michael Douglas but he is misinformed," Kilmer wrote on Facebook in response to Douglas' statement.
"The last time I spoke to him was almost two years ago, when I asked him for a referral for a specialist to get a diagnosis for a lump in my throat."
"[That] prevented me from continuing a tour of my play CITIZEN TWAIN. I ended up using a team at UCLA and have no cancer whatsoever."
"I still have a swollen tongue and am rehabbing steadily."
"Some fans have mistakenly thought my silence about my personal issues meant that somehow I wasn't being responsible to my health.
"Because of my reliance on prayer and Love. Nothing could be further from the truth."
In other words:
We joke only because we believe Val when he says he has his health concerns are minor and manageable.
Whatever the issue, our thoughts are with Kilmer and his family, and we hope he receives whatever treatment he might need going forward.