Val Kilmer has experienced one of the most shocking cases of celebrity weight loss ever. As a buff and sexy hottie in "Willow," "Batman," and "Top Gun" Kilmer literally ballooned to unrecognizable. But then Kilmer was spotted not too long ago looking positively gaunt and sickly thin. Being a very private person, he kept mum about rumors of illness. But the whole story of Kilmer's weight loss was revealed recently and it will horrify you.

Kilmer and the mysterious neck covering

Kilmer wowed audiences with his sassy, bombastic portrayal of Doc Holliday in "Tombstone" in 1993.

He literally swept a generation of women off their feet and was the bromance of many a guy. But in the 2012 sequel "Wyatt Earp's Revenge" Kilmer--as Wyatt Earp--had lost all of his earlier pizzazz. He could barely speak his lines and his performance was wooden. Fans were surprised at the change. They started noticing that he always wore a neck covering--a bandanna or scarf--and that his voice was different. Folks wondered if he was hiding a tumorin his neck or a goiter(maybe some kind of throat cancer). Like Alec Baldwin, his face was bloated beyond what it should be in weight gain.

Val's religion, illness, and a scary emergency surgery

Val never admitted to having any illness like throat cancer despite some pretty obvious signs to the contrary.As a Christian Scientist (not to be confused with Scientology) Val preferred to avoid medical intervention.

It turns out that Val did have a throat tumor which in his faith was to be prayed over. But finally that tumor became a life or death problem. Kilmer underwent an emergency tracheotomy to have it removed. That tumor and the procedure took a lot of weight off. Kilmer never admitted the scary ordeal but his mother confirmed that yes, her son had been battling throat cancer.

A year after surgery he appeared in public without the neck covering, sporting the scars where the tumor was removed. He also appears to be at a healthier weight. So the three year gap in his career is explained and Kilmer will appear in several new films in 2017 including a reprisal of his role as Iceman in "Top Gun 2." It seems that Val's mysterious weight loss, like Jimmy Kimmel's had a very simple, though surprising source.