Back in February of 2015, several media outlets reported that Val Kilmer was on his deathbed.
The actor was reportedly suffering from throat cancer, and several insiders insisted that his condition had been exacerbated by his Christian Scientist beliefs, which prevented him from undergoing necessary medical procedures.
Clearly, either Kilmer’s condition was exaggerated or he made a miraculous recovery, because two years later, the beloved screen icon is still standing – but some continue to maintain that he’s on his last legs.
Kilmer appeared at an event in Los Angeles last week to promote his one-man show Citizen Twain, which has reportedly been put on indefinite hiatus due to the actor’s health issues.
Kilmer canceled a tour of the show back in November and has yet to reschedule.
The event on February 9 marked his first public appearance in several weeks.
Sadly, those in attendance say the actor appeared pale and gaunt, and was unable to stand while addressing the audience (as prior speakers had) and seemed to run out of breath while speaking.
“He performs as the ghost of Mark Twain in the show, but even as a dead man he looked ten times better than he does now,” one attendee told Radar Online.
The witness added:
“The difference between Val three years ago and him on stage now is both shocking and heartbreaking.”
“He could barely stand, he had to sit down to talk,” said another audience member.
“He was gasping for breath and he’s lost about half his body weight. His face has such deep lines on it and he appears so fragile. It is so sad to see such a huge talent so humbled.”
Kilmer’s sallow appearance and long disappearances from the spotlight have led to numerous rumors about his declining health.
Back in November, the actor’s longtime friend Michael Douglas confirmed that Kilmer has cancer.
Kilmer issued a statement saying that he is fond of Douglas, but that Douglas is telling tales out of school:
“Whatever led Michael Douglas to speculate about my health, he’s a loving and devoted friend to a privileged group of talented people,” Kilmer said.
“I’m sure he meant no harm.”
The elegiac tone of Citizen Twain has led some fans to speculate that it’s meant to serve as Kilmer’s swan song:
“The first half of the show is very funny, but the second half is a lot more reflective,” says one audience member.
“It’s very philosophical in places and deals with some big questions.”
Our thoughts go out to Kilmer and his family.