Louis Gossett Jr has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The Academy Award-winning actor - who scooped the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in 1982 film 'An Officer and a Gentleman' - is undergoing intensive treatment after learning he is suffering from the early stages of the disease.
He said: "I count this diagnosis among the many challenges I have faced in my life and overcome. I expect this to be no different."
Louis, 74, decided to speak out about his illness to "influence" others who are suffering, and show them there is hope.
He said: "I want to set an example for the large number of African-American men who are victims of this disease because of the comparatively low emphasis in our community on preventive examinations and early treatment.
"I want to influence them to seek, as I have, the fine medical care and early detection now available."
Louis' autobiography 'An Actor and a Gentleman' is set for release on May 17.