Objective: This study examines the relationship between the degree of illness-related stigma and the representation of persons with severe physical illnesses in the press. Methods: A random sample of 478 published articles was drawn from three daily newspapers and two local newspapers in Israel over 12 months. The degree of illness-related stigma was measured using a scale developed for this study. Media representation was measured using content analysis. Results: Persons with ‘very stigmatized’ illnesses tended to be women, to be unattached, shown as members of a marginalized ethnicity, and as involved in deviant occupations. Additionally, they were described in bare detail, not named, portrayed as ‘dangerous others.' Conclusions: People ‘very stigmatized’ illnesses were ‘symbolically annihilated,’ depicted as Others, and represented as an emblem of their illness. Implications: Changing media representations of persons with stigmatized illnesses is an essential step toward debunking illness-related stigma. Key words: illness-related stigma, mass media, people with severe physical illnesses.