World Leaders Who've Hidden Health Conditions

Are German Chancellor Angela Merkel's shaking hands a sign of dehydration — or something worse? She wouldn't be the first world leader to conceal a medical condition. 🤒

4 times world leaders deflected concerns or hid the truth about their health.

In 2019, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s shaking in public ignited concern about her health. Merkel first said she was dehydrated — but the shaking kept happening. She said she is "working through some things." “Regarding my health, all I would like to say is that you can take it firstly that I am aware of the responsibility of my office. I behave appropriately as far as my health is concerned. Also, as a person, I have a major interest in being healthy and I look after my health.”

In the 1980s, French President François Mitterrand kept his cancer a secret. His former physician, Dr. Claude Gubler, published false health reports about Mitterrand during his presidency. In 1996, he was charged with breaching his oath of secrecy by recounting Mitterrand's cancer battle in a book.

John F. Kennedy's Addison’s disease: This life-threatening condition affecting the adrenal glands was controlled by a daily dose of steroids and other drugs. Throughout his term, Kennedy's team was able to keep his condition completely secret.

Tony Blair's heart condition - In 2004, the British prime minister underwent heart surgery after complaining of chest pains and an irregular heartbeat. He downplayed the condition, but later spoke about his treatment. “I’ve got this routine procedure on my heart which is connected with the type of thing that happened last year.” “It's a minor routine procedure. But it will set off a splurge of speculation, so I might as well put it to rest. As for this, no it doesn't stop me from working, I've had it in the last few weeks and I'm fine.”

For as long as people have been electing politicians into office, the health of those elected has been cloaked in secrecy. This isn’t a surprise. After all, if you were leading an entire country, you would want everyone to think you were the picture of perfect health, right? But that’s not always the case.