The Wall Street star – who faced another blow in April with the jailing of his son on drugs charges – earned a cheer from the audience on a US chat show after revealing that he is one week into treatment for his throat tumour.
Determined to put on a brave face for his fans, 65-year-old Michael had dressed with his usual care in a dapper white suit for the appearance.
In another good sign for all those who love him, the actor's famously seductive voice was intact as he talked in upbeat tones about the battle ahead on David Letterman's Late Show.
He told the host that the tumour was found after a summer holiday with his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, explaining that the cancer is stage-four, "which is intense, and so they've had to go at it".
According to the screen talent, the "expectations are good" and he has an 80 per cent chance of recovery.
"You've never looked better to me, and this proves that you're a tough guy, for God's sakes," the talk-show host said to applause from spectators.
At the end of their chat David wished his guest luck, then said: "Wow, boy, I feel like I want to do something for you. Can I do something for you?"
"Ahh, give me a hug," said Michael – before being enveloped in a heartfelt bear hug by the interviewer.
The actor is currently promoting Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to his cult movie about financial greed.