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The heartbreaking story behind Sam Heughan's family's health battles

The Outlander star is notoriously private about his personal life

sam heughan family© Photo: Getty Images
Hannah Hargrave
US Deputy Editor
June 16, 2021
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Growing up in a tiny village in Scotland, the bright lights of Hollywood seemed a far cry for Sam Heughan and yet, he has become one of the most in-demand celebrities of his time. 

But the dizzy heights of stardom, haven't made Sam immune to family heartache, of which he has had his fair share. 

MORE: Outlander's Sam Heughan and Catriona Balfe's sweet real-life friendship revealed

The Outlander actor rarely talks about his loved ones, but here's what we know about them. 

WATCH: Sam Heughan's Men in Kilts trailer 

While Sam was born in Scotland, his parents had been part of a hippie community in London called Gandalf's Garden - which was inspired by J.R.R Tolkien - and he and his older brother, Cirdan, were named after characters in The Lord of the Rings

After returning to their Scottish roots, Sam's mother, Chrissie, was sadly left to raise her two young children alone as their father walked out on them when Sam was only three years old. 

MORE: Outlander's Catriona Balfe reveals Claire's struggles in season six 

READ: Outlander author shocks fans as she criticises scene in TV show

The mother-of-two worked several dead-end jobs to support her boys and get them an education to be proud of. Sam focused on acting and forged an impressive resume while Cirdan took a different avenue. 

sam heughan leather© Photo: Getty Images

Sam has forged a successful career in Hollywood 

Unlike Sam - who is still currently single - Cirdan married his longtime girlfriend, Victoria Lawson, and they had a child together. 

But in 2008, Cirdan was given a devastating health blow. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Thankfully Cirdan made a full recovery after treatment, but it spurred Sam on to use his fame for good too. 

He is incredibly active when it comes to supporting charities which fight cancer and regularly promotes the importance of men getting check-ups.

READ: Is Sam Heughan dating? His sweet comments about finding love

MORE: Outlander's new character confirms horrifying storyline for season 6

Several years after Cirdan's health battle, the brothers were reunited with their dad. 

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Sam returned to his Scottish roots for his hit show Outlander 

But in a tragic turn of events, he was sick with Leukemia. Not long after reconnecting in 2014, he passed away from the disease. 

Although Sam avoids publicly talking about his father, while writing in Clanlands, the book which accompanies his show, Men in Kilts, Sam opened up about how the kilts in Outlander remind him of his late dad.

MORE: Lucifer star Tom Ellis almost landed this huge role on Outlander

He explained: "Most dear to me is my father's kilt, which I received after he passed away whilst I was shooting Season One of Outlander in 2014. I haven’t worn it yet.

"It’s MacDonald, as our family descends from the MacDonalds and comes with a plain but well-used brown leather sporran.

"I'll honour him one day by wearing it – just need to lose some weight first, he was rather slender!"

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