How did Steve McQueen die? Here is the untold story

How did Steve McQueen die? Here is the untold story

Steve McQueen, nicknamed King of Cool, was among the most sought-after Hollywood actors in the 1960s and 1970s. His life was cut short in 1980 after struggling to find treatment for his fatal ailment. How did Steve McQueen die?

Close up of Steve McQueen in the 1960s.
Steve McQueen was an American actor. Photo: Herbert Dorfman/Bettmann (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

At the height of his career, Steve McQueen was among the highest-paid movie stars of his generation. His net worth was estimated to be $30 million at the time of his death in 1980 (equivalent to $100 million today). He left behind his wife, Barbara Minty, and two children, Terry and Chad.

Steve McQueen's profile summary and bio

Full nameTerrence Stephen McQueen
Other namesBandito, Mc, King of Cool, McQ
Date of birth24 March 1930
Place of birthBeech Grove, Indiana, United States
Date of death7 November 1980
Place of deathCiudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Cause of deathHeart attack from cancer surgery
Place of burialAshes scattered in the Pacific Ocean
Age at death50 years
Height5 feet 9.75 inches (1.77 m)
Hair colourBrown
Eye colourBlue
Sexual orientationStraight
Marital statusWas married
WifeBarbara Minty (January 1980 until Steve McQueen's death)Ali McGraw (1973 to 1978), Neile Adams (1956 to 1972)
ChildrenTwo, including Chad and Terry
Year active1952 to 1980

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How old was Steve McQueen when he died?

The Towering Inferno star was born on 24 March 1930 in Beech Groove, Indiana, United States. He passed away on 7 November 1980, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, at 50.

Steve McQueen's cause of death

The actor's cause of death was a heart attack 12 hours after undergoing a 3-hour surgery to remove cancerous neck and abdomen tumours. The procedure was done at a clinic in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

In December 1979, McQueen was diagnosed with a rare form of fatal lung cancer called mesothelioma that had no cure. He had quit smoking and gone for antibiotic treatment in 1978 after developing a persistent chronic cough.

By February 1980, the cancer had spread, but American doctors told him nothing could be done to prolong his life. He then travelled to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, to try unconventional treatments, but they did not work.

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Steve flew to Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, to undergo surgery to remove a huge abdominal tumour. He made the trip to Mexico despite American doctors telling him that his heart could not withstand a surgery of that magnitude.

He, unfortunately, died after the cancer surgery was thought to be successful. Steve was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

The late actor Steve McQueen on the Riverside Raceway, Riverside, California, in July 1966.
The late actor was a car racer. Photo: Silver Screen Collection
Source: Getty Images

How did Steve McQueen get cancer?

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. The actor was believed to have been exposed to the material during his car racing days when he used to wear asbestos-lined crash suits.

He could also have inhaled the material during film production on movie sound stages insulated with asbestos. He could also have been exposed to it while removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship while serving in the US Marines.

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Who was with Steve McQueen when he died?

McQueen's two friends, including his aeroplane mechanic, were present when he passed away. Steve's third wife, model Barbara Minty, whom he had married ten months prior in January 1980, was at his bedside but had just left before he died. His two children, Chad McQueen and Teri, from his marriage to his first wife, actress-dancer Neile Adams, were also with him in Mexico.

American actor Steve McQueen he promotes the film Le Mans in France in 1971.
Steve McQueen died in 1980. Photo: Silver Screen Collection
Source: Getty Images

What were Steve McQueen's last words?

The actor was asleep when his heart failed but said nothing before dying. He had, however, spoken to heart and kidney specialist Cesar Santos Vargas after his last chance surgery. Santos told reporters that he gave a thumbs-up sign and said in Spanish, 'Lo hice,' which translates to 'I did it!'

Who was the love of Steve McQueen's life?

Actor Andre Brooks, who portrayed Steve in the 2019 biopic Chasing Bullitt, told Closer Weekly that actress and dancer Neile Adams was the love of McQueen's life. The couple married in 1956 but started having marital problems because of the actor's extramarital affairs.

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Steve McQueen and Neile Adams at the 1967 Academy Awards.
Neile Adams was Steve's wife from 1956 to 1972. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

How Steve McQueen died was painful and a huge loss of Hollywood talent. His legacy continues to live on through his movies and biopics. His son Chad is also an actor and producer.

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John Q became a favourite among audiences who resonated with the plot. Check the article for more on the motivation behind the creation of the critically acclaimed film.

Source: Briefly News

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