Sam Riegel Shares Teary Video Disclosing Cancer Diagnosis

Sam Riegel underwent surgery and radiation to cure his tonsil cancer, though he's currently in recovery.

Sara Belcher - Author

Jul. 9 2024, Updated 12:53 p.m. ET

Fans of Critical Role (and Vox Machina) saw longtime cast member Sam Riegel take a temporary leave from the show after his character, an android named Fresh Cut Grass, died. This isn't the first time the voice actor has taken a short leave from the popular Dungeons and Dragons show, but while many assumed Sam was just on vacation, a new video posted to the official Critical Role YouTube channel unveils a much more personal reason for Sam's sudden hiatus.

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In the video, Sam announces that he was diagnosed with oralvarangeel carcinoma, a form of tonsil cancer, before taking his leave from the campaign. Thankfully, he's in recovery now, as he stated in the video, but he used the tearful message to share some important reminders with the community alongside his health update.

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Sam Riegel shares that he got throat cancer from latent HPV.

In a less-than-six-minute video posted to YouTube and X on July 8, Sam updated Critical Role followers on his hiatus, informing them of his cancer diagnosis.

"The good news is, I'm recovering from cancer!" Sam begins. "I know the 'cancer' part of that sentence sounds like really bad news, and it was when I first found out, but the word 'recovering' has made all the difference."

Sam detailed that he first sought medical advice after being unable to taste sweet flavors anymore (and testing negative for COVID-19). Upon receiving his cancer diagnosis only a couple of weeks later, he underwent surgery to remove some of the cancer in his tonsils, removing one of his tonsils, part of his tongue, and a portion of his soft palette.

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"I spent four days in the hospital. I ate from a feeding tube. I had to relearn how to speak and swallow, which is why you may notice my diction is a bit slurry," he continued. "But, they got the cancer."

From there, Sam said he underwent six weeks of radiation treatment (which "sucked"). According to his doctor, the tonsil cancer likely developed from latent HPV, a virus that can linger in the body for years and can commonly cause cervical cancer in women and throat cancer.

Sam urged viewers to get the HPV vaccine that is now available so others don't have to experience what he did, but he ultimately stressed that he's on the road to recovery.

"Guys I have missed performing. I've missed my friends, I've missed telling stories. But mostly I've missed talking and thinking about anything other than cancer," he said at the end of the video. "I have many more months before I will be 100 percent, but for now, I love you all, and it's good to be back."

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