He was considered the "King of Cool". Hollywood legend Steve McQueen's life was cut short from a deadly disease. Mesothelioma is cancer caused by exposure to Asbestos. Now his wife has joined the fight for a ban on it.
Barbi McQueen describes the day, she and Steve had a serious heart to heart about their future. "One day he went off to be alone, I found him, and he looked at me and asked, what do you want to do. Do you want to blow it and go have some fun, or do you want to fight it? Me being a young bride and in love, I said let's face it, yes, we're going to fight it".
But staying positive through countless doctor visits wasn't enough. In the end, the ultimate Hollywood tough guy was gone.
When and where Steve was exposed to Asbestos isn't precisely known, even though Barbi believes he may have got it as a young man in the service. "He had to scrape the hull of a submarine, and that's all Asbestos, breathing all that Asbestos, and it didn't appear until he was in his late forties."
Although Asbestos is no longer mined in the United States, American industry still legally imports, uses and sells both raw Asbestos and products made with it.
Fast forward to 2011, when Barbi was convinced to share her story with a woman named Linda Reinstein. Reinstein's, whose husband Alan also died from Mesothelioma, co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. "What happens with Asbestos issues, sometimes people don't put this at the top of their list of concerns, but when a celebrity shares their story, Barbi and Steve McQueen, the king of cool, it makes people listen more intensely."
When asked what she hoped people would take away from her story, Barbi replied, "I would like to see his name for helping people to rid the country of this horrible disease."
May we all learn from something Steve McQueen said. "When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it."