The actor opened up about his COVID and cancer diagnoses.
Jeff Bridges is opening up just how serious his battle with COVID-19 was. In a new interview with People, the 72-year-old actor shared that he almost died while fighting the virus last year, which was heightened because of his chemotherapy treatment due to his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In October 2020, Bridges shared that he was diagnosed with lymphoma but that the prognosis was good. Last September, he shared on his website that he was in remission and that his 9" x 12" tumor had shrunk down to the size of a marble after undergoing chemotherapy. In his new interview, The Big Lebowski actor said he contracted COVID last January when vaccines weren't available yet.
"I had no defenses. That's what chemo does -- it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it," he told the outlet. "COVID made my cancer look like nothing."
Bridges told the magazine he spent five months in the hospital in pain. It was so bad, in fact, he noted that he needed help from the nurses to roll over in bed and to give him oxygen.
"I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, 'Jeff, you've got to fight. You're not fighting.' I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality," he said.
The Oscar winner, who had the support of his wife, three children and grandchildren, said he now has a new perspective on things after his serious health issues.
"Who would say, 'I'd love some cancer and give me a dose of COVID?' But my ability to receive all the love and give it was just heightened," he shared. "Everything was turned up in the most beautiful way."
Last September, Bridges shared on his website that his COVID battle was "in the rearview mirror." Bridges said he's been working out with a therapist, and he's been able to get off needing oxygen assistance so that he could walk his daughter, Hayley, down the aisle at her wedding and do the father-daughter dance.
"COVID kicked my a** pretty good, but I'm double vaccinated & feeling much better now," he wrote. "I heard that the vaccine can help folks with Long Haulers. Maybe that's the cause of my quick improvement."
He similarly reflected on how his brush with death changed him.
"But ... here's the weird deal," he wrote. "While I had moments of tremendous pain (screaming singing, a sort of moaning song all through the night) getting close to the Pearly Gates, all in all, I felt happy and joyous most of the time. This brush with mortality has brought me a real gift — LIFE IS BRIEF AND BEAUTIFUL. LOVE IS ALL AROUND US, AND AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES."