1980: An iconic life cut short

McQueen’s mesothelioma diagnosis in 1979 was likely due to his exposure to asbestos. In the Marines, he repaired asbestos insulation; while racing, he wore asbestos-lined suits. He was told the cancer was untreatable. Seeking a cure, McQueen headed to Mexico for experimental treatments that ultimately didn’t work. He was 50 when he died on Nov. 7, 1980. The ashes of the King of Cool were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

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