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PEOPLE TYLER
Chris Carlson  /  AP
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.  Tyler has revealed that he has Hepatitis C.
Access Hollywood
updated 9/27/2006 1:38:05 PM ET 2006-09-27T17:38:05

Rock legend and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler revealed to Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell that he has been fighting a secret battle with hepatitis C.

Tyler revealed to Access he was diagnosed with the infection three years ago.

“I’ve been pretty quiet about this. The band took a break about three years ago and I’ve had hepatitis C for a long time, asymptomatic. And I talked to my doctor... and he said now is the time and it’s 11 months of chemotherapy. So I went on that and it about killed me,” Tyler said.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the blood. The infection can cause liver inflammation that is often asymptomatic, but ensuing chronic Hepatitis can result later in cirrhosis and liver cancer.

It is a disease spread by blood-to-blood contact with an infected person. Hepatitis C is often associated with used needles.

Tyler said it hasn’t easy to deal with the disease and the treatment took a toll on his body — and his marriage.

His marriage to clothing designer Teresa Barrick was falling apart at the time of his treatments, and they were divorced earlier this year.

“I had a little problem at home, to say the least,” he says, “and I would run upstairs at night, you know, to put the kids asleep and wake up at 3 in the morning with a nosebleed you know, just passed out from the interferon, the treatment. It’s a shot and pills and all of that. But the good news is I stood the test of time.”

About 4.5 million Americans suffer from hepatitis C, which is hard to detect but can cause scarring of the liver and lead to cirrhosis. In 2002, Pamela Anderson announced that she, too, has the disease.

But now Tyler is happy to say that the disease is gone from his bloodstream.

“It is non-existent in my bloodstream as we speak so it’s one of those few miracles that in doctoring where it’s like a complete cure. It’s gone,” he said.

Tyler said he hopes his battle with the disease might raise awareness in others.

“Hepatitis C is the one that of all the people in this room at least three have it and don’t know it. It’s the silent killer. I may go on Oprah and talk about this. I mean you know it’s just one of those things... it’s one of those things people don’t speak about it, but it is treatable. It’s non-detectable in my bloodstream and so that’s that,” he added.

Copyright 2013 by NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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