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"Tiger King" Star Joe Exotic Reveals the First Signs He Had Prostate Cancer

The 58-year-old pop culture phenomenon made the announcement from prison.

Tiger King star Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, took to Twitter this weekend to reveal he's battling prostate cancer. The 58-year-old star of Netflix's breakout 2020 documentary Tiger King begged to be freed from prison in hopes of receiving better medical care. Exotic is currently serving a prison sentence of 22 years for a murder-for-hire plot against his long-time rival Carol Baskin, the CEO of Big Cat Rescue. Exotic explained in the first of a series of tweets that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test—a blood test that checks for a protein produced in the prostate, according to experts at Mayo Clinic—came back "very high for prostate cancer."

The former zoo operator said the prison has approved testing to confirm what stage his cancer is at. He also called on President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Attorney General Merrick Garland to "listen to the evidence" and let him "go home and get proper medical care and proper food." The Tiger King star noted in a followup tweet that he will soon have a colonoscopy, endoscopy, and a biopsy on his tumor.

Keep reading to learn the first signs of Exotic's battle with cancer, as he awaits his oncologist appointment on May 27 and his urologist visit on June 1.

RELATED: If These 2 Body Parts Hurt You, It Could Be a Sign of Cancer, Study Says.


a man sitting in his home, feeling tired
PixelsEffect / iStock

"My body is tired," Exotic wrote on Twitter, without going into too much detail. According to Prostate Cancer U.K., fatigue is common among men with prostate cancer. "Around three in four men with prostate cancer (74 percent) will have fatigue at some point," the experts at the charity explain.

Unexplained weight loss

man measures his waist, checking for weight loss
Be-Art / iStock

Unexplained weight loss is another symptom of prostate cancer that Exotic seems to be experiencing as well. "I have lost a tremendous amount of weight," he said in one of his tweets.

According to Healthline, losing weight without increased exercise or a diet change is a common sign of advanced prostate cancer. "Loss of appetite or interest in eating is also a sign cancer has spread to other areas of your body, like your liver," the experts at the website note.

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Mouth sores

a male doctor checks a man's mouth
Geber86 / iStock

In addition to weight loss and extreme tiredness, Exotic now has mouth sores, which he describes as "out of control."

"Compromised immunities may cause mouth sores or other issues that impede normally simple everyday tasks, such as eating, swallowing or talking," The Cancer Centers Treatment of America explains.


Man Touching Aching Stomach Lying On Couch At Home

Exotic also told his fans: "I throw up more than I eat." Experts at WebMd explain that nausea and vomiting could be a sign of advanced prostate cancer. It can also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be found in people with prostate cancer. When the prostate is "enlarged, inflamed with an infection, or cancerous," people may have difficulty urinating or painful urination.

RELATED: If You Notice This on Your Skin, You Could Be at Risk for 13 Cancers.

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