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Arnold Schwarzenegger says he nearly died from bungled heart surgery: 'I was really freaking out'

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he nearly died from bungled heart surgery: 'I was really freaking out'

Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking back on his third open-heart surgery and revealing that procedural complications nearly cost him his life.

The 76-year-old action star and former governor of California, who was born with a congenital heart defect, shared in a recent YouTube video that he underwent valve replacement surgery right before he filmed 2019's Terminator: Dark Fate. When he awoke, he recalled doctors informing him that unexpected internal bleeding had occurred and prompted the medical team to "open me up very quickly to save my life."

"I was really freaking out," Schwarzenegger recalled. "I woke up and all of a sudden the doctors were in front of me saying, 'I'm so sorry but it was unlike what we planned.' [They said], 'We made a mistake and poked through the heart wall,' and had to open me up very quickly." He added, "The bottom line is, you cannot roll the clock back. I was in the middle of a disaster. So now how do I get out of it? You have to shift gears. Collect yourself, shift gears and say, 'Okay what I need to do now is get out of this hospital.'"

Schwarzenegger's road to recovery is chronicled in the video, including clips of him talking small steps around the hospital that would lead to longer strides. "I looked like an idiot waddling around in the hallways, but the bottom line was I was getting going because the doctors said you have to exercise your lungs because if you get pneumonia you can die," he said.

He explained that he was emboldened to get back into shape in order to film Dark Fate. "I had to be in shape, I had to move around, run around, lift things up, do the fight scenes," Schwarzenegger said, adding that his "positive attitude" and support system helped him reach his goal. "When I started shooting Terminator 6, I was all back together again."

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images Arnold Schwarzenegger

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year, Schwarzenegger, who recently launched a health and fitness newsletter, said he intended to live forever. "I still work out every day, I ride my bike every day, and I make movies," he said. "Show business is another part of my life. I add in my life, I never subtract… I love everything that I do. There's no retiring. I'm still on this side of the grass, so I'm happy. My plan is to live forever — and so far, so good!"

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