Jeff Bridges Recalls Being on "Death's Door" While Fighting Cancer and COVID-19

·3 min read

Jeff Bridges knows he's lucky to be alive today.

In 2020, the Oscar winner shared with his followers that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. But shortly after hearing good news from doctors that chemotherapy was working, Jeff tested positive for COVID-19 before vaccines were available.

"The chemo wipes out your immune system and when COVID hit me, I had nothing to fight it," Jeff exclusively told E! News. "I was just really at death's door a couple of times there."

During his health scare, which resulted in being in the hospital for more than four months, the 72-year-old questioned if he would ever get to work on the big or small screen again. He also feared he wouldn't be able to walk his daughter Haley, 36, down the aisle.

"I remember the doctors saying to me, ‘Jeff, you gotta fight,'" he said. "I had no idea what they were talking about. I thought, ‘Man, I'm in surrender mode here.' With a great medical team, great trainers and my family, everybody brought me back."

Americans Who Received COVID-19 Vaccine

While Jeff is back at work filming the FX thriller The Old Man, he's most grateful for the family around him including his longtime wife Susan Geston. Married since 1977, the couple's love story grew even stronger as Jeff fought for his life. In fact, the Crazy Heart star doesn't hesitate in calling his wife "the love of my life."

Susan Geston, Jeff Bridges, Fiji Water
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water

"Sue and I were looking at each other and we went, ‘How lucky are we?' I hug that girl and I get recharged. It's right there, so accessible," Jeff said. "I'm being conscious of stuff that's just right in front of me like love and my family and all of the stuff that's available for me. I'm just really loving this obvious thing that we live with all the time and take for granted."

With three daughters and three grandkids rounding out his family, Jeff is focused on staying healthy and raising awareness about his battle as he remains in remission.

On Sept. 15, the actor teamed up with AstraZeneca to launch Up The Antibodies, a new campaign that embraces the reality for millions of immunocompromised Americans that COVID-19 isn't over.

"While the option to up my antibodies to protect me from COVID-19 wasn't around when I was going through cancer treatment, it is now," Jeff said after consulting with doctors. "As soon as I could, I upped my antibodies. And now I'm feeling more confident to get back to doing the things I love."

And although his battle with cancer and COVID-19 was challenging to say the least, Jeff is trying to find the positives in what can only be described as a scary situation.

"So often things are right on our nose that we don't appreciate," he said. "But it turns out there are many positive sides in my life that came out of that experience."

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.