Barry Keoghan Details His Battle With Near-Fatal Flesh-Eating Disease

Salburn star Barry Keoghan shared his 2021 battle with necrotizing fasciitis—which nearly led to his arm being amputated—ahead of filming Banshees of Inisherin.

By Olivia Evans Jan 09, 2024 6:09 PMTags
Watch: Barry Keoghan Says FLESH-EATING Disease Nearly Cost Him an Arm

Barry Keoghan is opening up about a harrowing medical journey.

The Saltburn star recently shared that he battled necrotizing fasciitis—a rare flesh-eating skin disease—just before he started filming The Banshees of Inisherin in 2021. 

In fact, Keoghan, who later earned an Oscar nomination for his role in the 2022 comedy-drama, told GQ in a profile published Jan. 9 that he nearly lost his arm from the disease—and at one point, doctors couldn't guarantee his survival. (Necrotizing fasciitis is fatal to one in five people who get it, according to the Center for Disease Control.)

But despite the serious health scare, the film's director Martin McDonagh noted that Keoghan remained calm throughout the ordeal.

"He seemed to shrug it off," McDonagh recalled of visiting the 31-year-old ahead of filming. "We were only about four days out from shooting, and his arm was puffed up. But he was like, ‘Yeah, no, I'm going to be fine—I'll see you on Tuesday.' I went to the hospital thinking, S--t—is he going to die? Let alone, is he going to make the movie. But I came out of there energized and looking forward to it."

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And Keoghan revealed that McDonagh also told him to "remember" the ordeal when he eventually gets "nominated for an Oscar." 

While Everything Everywhere All At Once star Ke Huy Quan ultimately took home the Oscar, the Eternals actor is still marveling at the "honor" of being nominated.

With the Irish actor's health scare in his rearview, Keoghan is enjoying a new chapter of his career, which has seen him become a leading man in films like Saltburn.

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"It's nice not just being looked at as the weird-looking guy," he added, saying his recent success "opens up other lanes" for him in acting.

And Keoghan—who shares 15-month-old son Brando with ex Alyson Kierans—also noted that he, overall, he feels, "F--kin' happy, for once."