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Kidney disease can affect anyone

Here’s a few names and faces you might recognise

Tina Turner

Singer and songwriter

"...kidneys fail without pain. And that's why I'm telling you today: Show your kidneys love! They deserve it. My kidneys are victims of my not realising that my high blood pressure should have been treated with conventional medicine. I have put myself in great danger by refusing to face the reality that I need daily, lifelong therapy with medication. For far too long I believed that my body was an untouchable and indestructible bastion…"

Tina Turner was diagnosed with hypertension (or high blood pressure) in 1978 and, unfortunately, did not know that this is a risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease. She said no one ever explained to her what having high blood pressure meant and she simply thought it was "her normal."

Michala Banas


“My parents knew instinctively that something really wasn’t right, and thank goodness they persisted in getting me help. After the operation, the doctor told them that had they waited a few more weeks, I would’ve died.”

Michala was born with a defect in her left kidney, which wasn’t discovered until she was almost six years old. She had most of her kidney and part of her bladder removed during a marathon life-saving operation and now lives with one kidney.

Jack Thompson


"I never thought that end stage renal failure would have anything to do with me," he says. "I certainly didn't have a diet full of sugar. I exercised. I had a healthy diet. I was stunned. Here I am."

Jack Thompson was diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 77-years old after he began to feel very ill and went to hospital for a check-up. He began dialysis treatment while filming a movie in the Northern Territory.

Photograph: Helen Davidson/The Guardian

Galarrwuy Yunupingu

Musical artist

Yunupingu, the Yothu Yindi front man and 1993 Australian of the year, died of kidney disease aged 56. He was diagnosed in 2005, and began dialysis in 2007.

Stevie Wonder

Singer-songwriter and musician

The legendary Motown performer made the announcement in July of 2019 that he would undergo kidney transplant surgery later that year. 10 months after the surgery he announced he was feeling great after being "blessed with a new kidney".

Jonah Lomu

Rugby Union Player

Jonah was an unstoppable force on and off the rugby field, he inspired millions with his skill, power and performance. Nothing and no one could stop him, except for kidney disease. His achievements included being inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame, New Zealand Order of Merit as well as being recognised as one of the world’s best athletes.

He died aged 40, waiting for a second kidney after his first transplant in 2011 failed.

Jack Brabham

Racing driver

"Dialysis takes some time getting use to - it's a bit of a bind tying you down but when you hear what the alternative is it starts to sound a lot better,"

Sir John Arthur Brabham AO OBE was an Australian racing driver who was Formula One World Champion in 1959, 1960, and 1966. He remains the only Formula 1 driver in history to win the World Championship in a car bearing his own name.

He passed away aged 88 after a long battle with kidney disease.

Liam Hemsworth


After four years of veganism, he started feeling lethargic. "Then I got a kidney stone. It was one of the most painful weeks of my life. I was doing press for Isn’t It Romantic. But I had to go to the hospital and get surgery. My particular kidney stone was a calcium-oxalate kidney stone. It forms from having too much oxalate in your diet. Oxalates are really high in a lot of vegetables, specifically spinach, almonds, beetroot, potatoes."

Sarah Hyland


Sarah was born with kidney dysplasia, a condition in which the kidneys don't fully develop in the womb. She has had two transplants: the first when she was 21 with her father's kidney. Sadly, her body rejected it, and she needed a second transplant when she was 26, with her younger brother's kidney.

George Lopez

Comedian and actor

“When I was 18, I had to get a physical for baseball, and the doctor noticed that my blood pressure was high,” Lopez says. “But he passed me and never even mentioned that high blood pressure can be a sign of kidney disease.”

The comedian was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at age 43 after years of living with fatigue and chronic pain. A year after his diagnosis, Lopez was told it was time for a transplant: His kidneys were no longer functioning and were too small to be detected by an ultrasound. Ann Serrano Lopez, his wife at the time, donated a kidney, and the surgery was a success.

Selena Gomez

Actor and singer

Selena faced health complications as she suffered organ damage due to Lupus and had a kidney transplant when she was 24. She said, “It was what I needed to do for my overall health.”

Nick Cannon

Actor and TV host

"I can live until [I’m] a very old man with this diagnosis as long as I take care of myself.”

In January 2012, Nick Cannon was diagnosed with lupus kidney disease (lupus nephritis). He’d experienced symptoms of fatigue and swelling in his knees before a New Year’s vacation in Aspen that worsened while he was there. He thought it might be because of the higher elevation in Colorado, but trouble breathing and pain in his kidneys made him seek medical help. He was hospitalized on Jan. 4, 2012, and tests confirmed the diagnosis.

Natalie Cole


In 2008, Natalie Cole was diagnosed with Hepatitis C at a routine examination. Her kidneys failed after treatment and she suffered total renal failure and began receiving dialysis three times a week until 2008 when she had a kidney transplant.

Barry White


Barry White battled chronic high-blood pressure, which caused kidney failure. He began dialysis while waiting for a transplant, but sadly passed away at age 58.

Gary Coleman

Actor and comedian

At birth, Coleman was diagnosed with multiple health issues, including a congenital kidney defect known as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, an autoimmune disease that alters the kidneys. He had two kidney transplants over his life which were both sadly rejected, so he underwent dialysis.