- Larry King, 86, opened up about the near-fatal stroke he experienced in May.
- The television host says he “wanted to die” after waking up in the hospital.
- King is recovering and says his health scares have helped him come to terms with getting older.
The past year has been a difficult one for Larry King. The 86-year-old television host had heart surgery in April to reopen a previous bypass from a heart attack he had in 1987. Just a few weeks later in May, he suffered a near-fatal stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked.
“I was driving to the doctor’s office, and I don’t remember anything after that. I woke up in intensive care and I had tubes in me. They told my family I was going to die,” he told People of the aftermath of his stroke.
When he learned what had happened, King had one thought: “I want to die,” he recalled telling his son Chance. “But that was a passing thing. I never had that thought again, or before. And Chance kept me going. He said, ‘You can’t go, you’re not going to go,’ and so I came home.”
King is recovering, but it’s going to take some time for him to feel healthy. He’s currently dealing with drop foot—a side effect of stroke that causes weakness in the feet and impairs mobility—so he’s been using a walker and wheelchair to get around. “It’s been a rough year,” King told People. “I get mad. When I have to be helped into a chair it’s like, ‘Come on.’” But he relies on his sense of humor to keep going. “I think you live longer if you laugh a lot.”
This wasn’t the first time King battled serious health issues, though. The longtime smoker was also diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer in 2017, even though he had quit the habit following his 1987 heart attack. King was also diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer and has type 2 diabetes, per CNN.
But facing such scares has helped him come to terms with getting older. “I have less of a fear of dying now,” said the father of five. “I’m 86 and it is what it is. I just want to keep working until the end. I’d like to die at work—I’ll retire right there!”
“I don’t have any idea of what 2020 is going to be like. But I can still work and I can watch my kids grow up. I feel positive and hopeful,” he added. “I’m very proud of what I do, and I’m a good father—nothing beats parenthood. There’s an element of pinching myself every day. Look at what I’ve come through. All in all, if you look at it, I’ve had a blessed life.”
You Might Also Like