The Diseases Brian Littrell Battled With During His Backstreet Boys Career

Bihter Sevinc

The Backstreet Boys, a well-known boy band that gained popularity in the ’90s and beyond, encountered various obstacles on their path to fame. Brian Littrell, one of the band members, faced several health challenges that had a notable impact on his career.

The singer’s health issues began at an early age. He was born with a congenital heart condition and was diagnosed with a heart murmur when he was just six weeks old. At five years old, he spent two months in the hospital due to a bacterial infection, which caused him to repeat the first grade in school. Despite these difficulties, Littrell remained determined to pursue his dreams.

As Brian’s career with the Backstreet Boys flourished, his heart condition became a concern. In November 1997, doctors discovered that his heart had enlarged significantly due to the congenital condition. Despite the challenges, Littrell underwent open-heart surgery on May 1998.

In October 2009, the frontman faced another health setback when he contracted swine flu. As a precaution, the Backstreet Boys had to cancel their promotional tour for the album ‘This Is Us.’

Following that, the 2015 documentary ‘Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of’ revealed another health struggle Brian had been dealing with – vocal tension dysphonia. This condition caused significant changes in his voice due to extreme muscle tension around the vocal cords. As one of the lead vocalists of the Backstreet Boys, this proved challenging during the recording of their 2013 album, ‘In A World Like This.’

In a 2019 interview with CBS News, he addressed the state of his voice back then, explaining:

“It’s a work in progress, as you know, that I can talk to you right now. Probably four or five years ago, I was not able to talk. So, if you can’t talk, you can’t really sing.”

When asked how he improved it, the singer replied:

“Therapy, a lot of soul-searching.”

In the rest of the interview, Brian disclosed that although his health issue caused them difficulties, the other band members never told him to leave the group. Since his diagnosis, Littrell has been working with a therapist to improve his condition of vocal tension dysphonia.

Share This Article