Fact Check: Long-Standing Rumors Claim Denzel Washington Has Cancer. Here's the Truth

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A December 2019 rumor accurately reported that actor Denzel Washington had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.


Rating: False
Rating: False

In December 2019, false rumors circulated claiming that actor Denzel Washington had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and multiple outlets had continued to perpetuate this rumor. One such article, published in the digital SCP Magazine in October 2023, made the claim as follows:

Is Denzel Washington Sick? All About The Terminal Cancer Of Famous Actor And Recent Health Updates 2023

... Actor and director Denzel Washington has a distinguished career spanning more than forty years. He has received praise for his extraordinary talent and multiple accolades for his work. Nevertheless, Washington’s family was shocked to learn in December 2019 that he had terminal cancer. Washington is currently spending his last days in the hospital after receiving chemotherapy for a prolonged length of time, according to his family.

A YouTube video made the same claim with the following title: "Actor Denzel Washington was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he left fans with endless grief." The video received 2,866 views, as of this writing. Although the title makes this claim, the video itself only discusses the actor's professional career and makes no mention of this supposed illness.

The following disclaimer can be found on the SCP Magazine website:

Our website name stands for Spotlight on Entertainment, Movies, Celebrity, Dating, Transformations, Astrology etc. Scpsassam.org is not related to any government body and certainly not related to any corporation. We are not affiliated with any government body or corporation. Our purpose is solely to provide news coverage and updates across various topics.

Neither the article nor the YouTube video offered any evidence for an onlooker to independently verify the claim, nor did it provide any significant details as to the claimed diagnosis.

As of January 2024, there was no evidence that the actor has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Had Washington, his family, or representatives made any such public statement, reputable news outlets would have published articles about it. That had not happened.

Washington was still active in Hollywood. His latest film, "Equalizer 3," was released in September 2023, and his next film, "Gladiator 2," was set to be released in November 2024.

Celebrity illness and death hoaxes are a form of junk news, designed to get gullible readers to linger on a website or engage with a social media user because a famous person is involved. Such articles are often clickbait, if not outright phishing scams. In rare cases, the unfactual rumors are based on faulty reporting or misunderstandings.

We've previously reported on other rumors involving Washington, including that he refused a role with Disney given that it was too "woke," and that he called former President Barack Obama "criminal-in-chief."


Actor Denzel Washington Was Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer, He Left Fans with Endless Grief. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loXFMPv6aPk. Accessed 22 Jan. 2024.

‘Denzel Washington’. Wikipedia, 14 Jan. 2024. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Denzel_Washington&oldid=1195655822.

Gladiator 2. Directed by Ridley Scott, Paramount Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Parkes/MacDonald Image Nation, 2024.

Mills, Laurie. Is Denzel Washington Sick? All About The Terminal Cancer Of Famous Actor And Recent Health Updates 2023 - SCP Magazine. 5 Oct. 2023, https://scpsmag.org/illness/is-denzel-washington-sick/.

The Equalizer 3. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, Columbia Pictures, Eagle Pictures, Escape Artists, 2023.