The Story Of Sofia Vergara’s Cancer Struggle And The Deep Meaning Behind Her Tattoo

The Story Of Sofia Vergara's Cancer Struggle And The Deep Meaning Behind Her TattooMriganka Chawla | Talent Recap

Sofia Vergara has already become one of the best judges America’s Got Talent has ever seen in her very first season. The former Modern Family star has not always had such an easy life. She battled cancer and the tragic loss of her brother while on the path to achieving success.

‘America’s Got Talent’ Judge Sofia Vergara Is A Cancer Survivor

Sofia was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000. She kept her diagnoses under wraps as she was navigating her career as an actress after coming to America. The Columbian beauty did not want to induce more stress into her life by making this information public as she battled this disease. She first found out that she had cancer after taking her son Manolo to an endocrinologist to be checked for type 1 diabetes which her family has a history of. While there, the doctor checked Sofia as well and found a lump in her neck. “I felt no symptoms, so I was skeptical about having my thyroid gland removed. Plus, the surgery is dangerous. If the doctor makes a mistake, you can lose your speech or the mobility in your face. But I did it” she told Health.


Sofia still has to take a Synthroid pill every morning to control her metabolism. She also regularly gets her blood checked to make sure she is in good health. After the surgery, she had iodine radiation because the cancer was not completely removed. Throughout this time, her family took care of Manolo who was 10 as she recovered from the painful surgery. “When you go through something like this, it’s hard, but you learn a lot from it. Your priorities change. You don’t sweat the small stuff. And it had a good ending” she said.

Sofia’s Tattoo Has A Touching Meaning

Sofia helps others with cancer in her native Colombia get the treatment they need through the many charities that she works with. She even helped a young boy in Colombia who needed an urgent bone marrow transplant to get the care he needed in the United States. Giving back to Colombia has always been something that Sofia has been passionate about, even though something completely tragic happened to her family there. In 1998, Sofia’s brother Rafael was murdered during an attempted kidnapping. She recalled her brother’s death on America’s Got Talent after an emotional performance by poet Brandon Leake.

Sofia has a tattoo on her wrist of an “R” for Rafael in a touching tribute to him. She was inspired to get this tattoo by the late actor Heath Ledger whom she met on the set of “Lords of Dogtown.” The two became close and he shared his story about he got the acronym KAOS tattooed on his wrist to honor his sisters and his mom. Sadly Heath passed away in 2008 of a suspected drug overdose but Sofia has her tattoo as a way to honor both Heath for giving her the idea and her brother’s legacy.


If you want to learn more about her incredible life and her journey to stardom on America’s Got Talent, make sure you check out our 10 facts about her below. There might be some things in there that shock you.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube with a previous byline at The Blast. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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