Assassination of Gianni Versace: Did Gianni Versace have ear cancer? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

Assassination of Gianni Versace: Did Gianni Versace have ear cancer? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

Episode two – called Manhunt – aired on BBC Two last week and started off with the famous fashion designer going into hospital.

Gianni Versace (played by Édgar Ramírez) was seen walking past a ward with people looking close to death.

The designer, who was escorted in by his lover Antonio D’Amico (Ricky Martin), seemed to be terminally ill judging by his demeanour.

But are the scenes depicted in the TV show accurate and what was the cause of his illness?


Did Gianni Versace have ear cancer?

According to his sister Donatella Versace, Gianni was suffering from ear cancer.

In an interview with New York Magazine in 2006, she said: “He was sick with cancer in his ear before he was murdered.

“The last two years of his life, Gianni was hiding, hiding up in his apartment in Via Gesú, because his ear was so big.

“It was impossible to do a surgery because of the position, because to do a surgery, part of his face was supposed to drop.


“That’s why the will and everything was done, and I knew everything about, because he thought he was going to die.”

She went on to say: “But then it was declared cured six months before he was murdered.

“We celebrated; we drink champagne and everything. Six months later, he was killed.”

Also, journalist Maureen Orth writes in her book Vulgar Favours – which The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is based on – the public were told that the designer has ear cancer.

Orth writes: “For over a year between March 1994 and July 1995, Versace did not travel much and rarely visited South Beach.

“When he did appear in Europe to take bows on the catwalk after his shows, people noticed that he had lost weight and looked weak and emaciated.


“The news finally emerged that he was suffering from a rare, inner-ear cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.”

However, the book suggests that Gianni did have HIV with Miami Beach detective Paul Scrimshaw seeming to confirm this.

Scrimshaw said: “I had to know whether Gianni Versace was HIV positive or not, and I was able to find out from autopsy results that he had tested positive for HIV.’’

Vulgar Favours also states: “Gianni’s health improved in the last six months before his death – at a time when many people with HIV were experiencing similar results with new, life-saving medications.”

However the Versace family have always condemned any suggestions that Gianni had HIV or AIDS.

Following the publication of Vulgar Favours back in 2000, a spokesman for the family said that the Versaces “deplore this mercenary invasion of their privacy and the scurrilous assault on the reputation of someone who was the victim of a horrible crime”.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will air on BBC Two tonight at 9pm.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace – Vulgar Favours by Maureen Orth, BBC Books £8.99, paperback

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