Dolph Lundgren Reveals Longterm Battle With Cancer, Said He Was Given 2-3 Years To Live At One Point

Dolph Lundgren in Come out Fighting trailer
(Image credit: Redbox Entertainment)

Rocky IV vet and all-around badass Dolph Lundgren has managed to keep his career as an action movie and TV maven going well into his 60s, whether it’s with the cast of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom or filming for the upcoming sequel The Expendables 4. Now, the Swedish actor has revealed he’s secretly dealt with some pretty huge health issues for a surprisingly long time, sharing that he’s been battling cancer and cancerous tumors for the past eight years. 

Having only recently made headlines when talking about the in-development Rocky spinoff tied to Karl Drago (which Sylvester Stallone wasn’t too kind about), Dolph Lundgren appeared in a new interview for the syndicated series In Depth with Graham Bensinger and spoke candidly about the struggles he’s faced for much of the past decade, saying it started with a tumor in his kidney being found back in 2015. And while it seemed okay initially, the actor explained:

But then they did a biopsy and it was cancerous. And then I did scans every six months. Then you do it every year, and it was fine for five years. In 2020, I was back in Sweden, and I had some kind of acid reflux; I didn’t know what it was. So I did an MRI, and they found that there were a few more tumors around that area.

The interview also included a clip from 2020 of Dolph Lundgren coming out of the surgery that removed six different tumors, looking quite pleased at having made it through that ordeal. However, the troubles weren’t over yet, as Lundgren shared he got a follow-up call later to say there was another tumor found in his liver. In his words:

They did a scan to prepare for surgery, and the surgeon called me and said, ‘No, it’s grown now. It’s too big. We can’t take it out. It’s like the size of a small lemon.’ So if they can’t take it out, that means you have to do systemic therapy. But then I started getting these side effects where I got diarrhea, and I lost a lot of weight. And that wasn’t very nice for myself or my poor fiancée to suffer through that. . . . He started saying these things like, ‘You should probably take a break and spend more time with your family and so forth.’ So I kind of asked him, ‘How long do you think I’ve got left?’ And I think he said two or three years, but I could tell in his voice that he probably thought it was less.

At this time, Dolph Lundgren says he was extremely lucky to have learned the diagnosis when he did, as another form of treatment may have given him a far shorter life expectancy. As well, he remains hopeful that the medications and treatments that he’s going through will continue to hold all things cancerous at bay, and hopes that he still has years to go.

In the interview video, Lundgren's fiancée Emma Krokdal also shared her emotional story about being by the actor's side during recent years. She said there were points during treatment that he developed sores in his mouth that made it nearly impossible for him to eat or drink anything that wasn't completely flavorless and at room temperature. All that said, it sounds like his spirits remained high, even during the darker stretches, as he feels like he's lived several lifetimes during his 65 years so far, given his success in Hollywood and around the world.

In the meantime, he does plan to keep working for as long as he can, so here’s hoping we’ll get that Drago spinoff going as soon as can be, especially if Stallone gets involved as Lundgren hopes. While waiting on that, mark those calendars for the impending Aquaman sequel releasing in December, which Lundgren has claimed is better than the first film.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.