Jack Osbourne’s Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis: How Other Stars Have Coped

Jack Osbourne, Montell Williams and Teri Garr Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com; Charley Gallay/Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Jack Osbourne announced the sad news Sunday that he’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. But the 26-year-old new dad — Osbourne welcomed his first child, daughter Pearl, with fiancee Lisa Stella two months ago — is not the first star to battle to disease.

Montel Williams, Teri Garr and Michelle Obama‘s father, Fraser Robinson III, have publicly shared their struggles with MS. Us Weekly rounded up some of their inspirational words of advice for living with the disease.

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“I could quit and say, ‘That’s it.’ Stay in bed and not get up,” Williams, 55, told Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Mehmet Oz in a 2009 interview. He was first diagnosed in 1999 and created the MS Foundation in 2000. “Or I can get my butt up every single day being a contributing member to this society and try and figure out how I deal with it.”

MS is a an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal chord. Symptoms vary in patients, but Dr. Oz explained the disease using an electrical cable. “Imagine that [the cable is] a nerve going down to your hand,” he said. “They have cables around them—insulation that protects you so the electricity can go where it’s supposed to go. … With multiple sclerosis, your immune system attacks that lining, that insulation, and it makes little cracks. As soon as that illness gets a little more aggressive, it actually takes whole chunks of that insulation away.”

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Garr, known for her roles in ’80s classics Tootsie and Mr. Mom, confirmed in 2002 that she is battling the chronic disease. “I do go on with my life,” the 64-year-old actress said on CNN’s Larry King Live. “The good news now is that there’s a lot of good medicines out there and options for people.” She also explained, “I think everybody is scared and frightened when they hear something like that, and that’s because there’s not a lot of information out there about it.”

And First Lady Michelle Obama knows what it’s like to grow up in household with an MS patient.

michelle obama
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks onstage at Nickelodeon’s 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards held at Galen Center on March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Buckner/WireImage.com

“My father has multiple sclerosis and I never knew him to be able to walk,” Obama shared on Late Show with David Letterman in March. “But my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much. And I think from him, I learned absolute, complete unconditional love. The notion that kids don’t need anything but to know that their parents adore them. I think that’s the greatest gift they gave us — their constant support and stability… There wasn’t anything my dad wouldn’t do for us.” 

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Though his diagnosis is new, Osbourne already has a very positive attitude about living with MS. “He knew something was wrong for awhile,” a source tells Us of the former Osbournes star turned filmmaker. “Everyone is sad, but he is being strong about it.”

“Thank you all so much for the kind and inspirational words,” Osbourne tweeted late Sunday. “It means a lot. Adapt and overcome.”

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