May 14th, 2013


If you don’t recall, the world wondered about the health of Larry Page after Google’s end-year earnings call this past January. The esteemed Google co-founder and CEO sounded deathly sick, struggling to catch his breath as he tried to utter out each word. We were worried, natch — the last CEO of an innovative fortune 500 tech company to get extremely sick ended up dying way too soon for us to bear. Fortunately, it looks like Larry Page’s condition wasn’t quite as alarming as we originally thought.

The CEO confirmed on Google+ that he  has been hit with a form of vocal paralysis affecting his left vocal cord that began right around the time he started Google. The issues originally arose after a bad cold, apparently, and when Page’s voice never fully restored to prominence he decided to seek answers. That much we knew for a while. But it was only recently that his right vocal cord suffered the same fate after dealing with another bad cold.

Page has had to skip many public speaking engagements because of it. He says the condition makes him sound a lot worse than how he’s actually feeling, as the condition creates difficulty breathing. While we’re sure the feeling isn’t pleasant, we’re glad it’s more superficial and benign than the terminal-sounding raspy voice we heard over the phone back in January. Page also revealed that he suffers from a mild, benign condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but doctors aren’t sure if the disease affects the vocal cord in any way.

Page has recovered a bit, albeit not to 100%. In fact, it might turn out that he’ll never fully get his voice back. The CEO notes that he does have to speak softer than before, though his home and work life have continued on as easily as they ever have.

Larry Page’s bout with this rare condition inspired him to fund a “significant” health research program called the Vocal Health Institute, an undertaking that would be headed up by one of the specialist doctors — Steven Zeitels from the Harvard Medical School — he has visited throughout this matter. Larry said Dr. Zeitels was so energetic and excited about wanting to improve vocal cord nerve function that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to allow him to research the matter.

The two have published a public health survey for anyone suffering from vocal cord nerve conditions, and urges folks to use it so that Dr. Zeitels and friends have a better shot at improving the health and lives of those unfortunate enough to have to suffer from it. You can take that survey here if you have anything to contribute.

And that, my friends, is why Sergey Brin has become the bright-eyed bushy-tailed fox that has been leading the publicity charge for the better part of a year now. We’re sure Larry Page is just as excited about Sergey Brin is about all the things Google is cooking up, but he just can’t quite communicate that to us in a way that could do any of it justice.

[via Google+]