Val Kilmer has been suffering from throat cancer for several years, but he still managed to make a memorable appearance at the United Nations’ NOVUS Summit on sustainable development in New York City on Saturday.

The 59-year-old actor — known for his role in films like Top Gun, Batman Forever and True Romance — hadn’t opened up about his affliction until a December 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He was reportedly using a tracheostomy tube for some time.


“I won’t speak long because I can’t speak long,” Kilmer said before starting his speech, as laughter rang out throughout the forum.

Kilmer was given a hammer as a symbolic award for his work with the TwainMania Foundation, which is dedicated to teaching art literacy and education to people around the world.

The actor currently tours the United States with the film production of his one-man show Citizen Twain, which he produced and wrote. Kilmer also renamed the show, Cinema Twain.

Kilmer is set to reprise his role from Top Gun alongside Tom Cruise in next year’s sequel to the 1986 cult film, Top Gun: Maverick. 

The NOVUS Summit aims to improve education worldwide, end poverty and combat climate change as part of a 17-goal plan that aims to substantially solve these issues by 2030.

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