Kevin Smith suffered what he called a “massive heart attack” over the weekend, prompting him to cancel a live show in Glendale, Calif., and check into a hospital, where he is recovering.
But initially, the New Jersey native just thought he was having a reaction to spoiled milk.
“I felt a little nauseous and then I tried to lay down on the floor,” Smith, 47, said Tuesday in a video posted to Facebook from his bed at Glendale Adventist Hospital in California. “I wound up getting ill — like threw up, but mostly bile, so I just thought, like, you know, I got some bad milk.”
However, Smith added, he soon began having trouble breathing, describing each breath as a “hurdle.” At that point, Smith’s camp called paramedics, who began calling for morphine shortly after their arrival.
The ordeal prompted Smith to begin thinking about his life, which he says has been an “incredible f— ride.” Through the trauma, Smith says, he realized he is content.
“I just thought about everything and thought about, like, my parents and how they raised me, and my brother and my sister and my friends and my wife and my kid and this weird, wonderful career that I’ve had for so long,” he said in the video. “And I was, like, content. Like, it was weird. I don’t know how to say it. I didn’t want to die, don’t get me wrong, but I was like, ‘If the ferryman comes tonight, I’ve got to pay him.’ Like, what a ride it’s been. What an incredible f— ride.”
Greetings from Glendale Adventist Hospital!
Posted by Kevin Smith on Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Doctors at Glendale Adventist found that Smith’s left anterior descending (LAD) artery was 100 percent blocked, and told the Mallrats director that had he not canceled the show, he would have died. As Smith said in a previous video to fans, a blocked LAD artery is also commonly known as a “widowmaker.”
To treat the blockage, doctors reached the artery through Smith’s groin area, which the director said brought to mind two of his worst fears.
“My biggest fear in life: Death, number one,” he said. “Number two: People seeing my d—. I’ve gone out of my way my whole life to not let my d— be f— seen. Never wanted to go to a hospital or a doctor for that very reason. Don’t want to be judged. Obviously small.”
Genital-related fears aside, the operation was a success. As Smith said, doctors inserted a stent and “bam, here I am.”
“Dude literally saved my life,” Smith added.
I was trying to do a killer standup special this evening but I might’ve gone too far. After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life at the #glendale hospital told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (also known as “the Widow-Maker” because when it goes, you’re a goner). If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight. For now, I’m still above ground! But this is what I learned about myself during this crisis: death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life. When the time came, I never imagined I’d ever be able to die with dignity – I assumed I’d die screaming, like my Dad (who lost his life to a massive heart attack). But even as they cut into my groin to slip a stent into the lethal Widow-Maker, I was filled with a sense of calm. I’ve had a great life: loved by parents who raised me to become the individual I am. I’ve had a weird, wonderful career in all sorts of media, amazing friends, the best wife in the world and an incredible daughter who made me a Dad. But as I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content. Yes, I’d miss life as it moved on without me – and I was bummed we weren’t gonna get to make #jayandsilentbobreboot before I shuffled loose the mortal coil. But generally speaking, I was okay with the end, if this was gonna be it. I’ve gotten to do so many cool things and I’ve had so many adventures – how could I be shitty about finally paying the tab. But the good folks at the Glendale hospital had other plans and the expertise to mend me. Total strangers saved my life tonight (as well as my friends @jordanmonsanto & @iamemilydawn, who called the ambulance). This is all a part of my mythology now and I’m sure I’ll be facing some lifestyle changes (maybe it’s time to go Vegan). But the point of this post is to tell you that I faced my greatest fear tonight… and it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined it’d be. I don’t want my life to end but if it ends, I can’t complain. It was such a gift. #KevinSmith
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Smith attributes to cause of the heart attack to his family history; he lost his father to a heart attack in June 2003. He says lifestyle changes have caused him to drop up to 90 pounds since he was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in 2010 over his weight, but “you just can’t beat [it] because it’s genetic.”
With his heart back in working order, Smith said he now has a “zest for life,” and thanked fans for their well-wishes.
“I am well. I’m sitting up and talking, I feel like I’m on a natural high,” he said. “It was kind of like…reading your eulogy. I saw what life will be like if I die. What the reaction would be if I die, and it was very sweet.”
In 2015, Smith was scheduled to shoot a project at a Philadelphia-area mall. Initially, he planned to film Clerks 3 in the area, but changed production to working on a Mallrats sequel, which then turned into a Mallrats TV series. The defunct Granite Run Mall was an early location choice, followed by Exton Square Mall. Then, in February last year, plans for both project were scrapped.
Since then, Smith has helmed several projects, including two episodes of the Jenkintown-set Goldbergs on ABC, and a Canadian convenience store-set horror comedy dubbed Yoga Hosers (starring Johnny Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose, and Smith’s own spawn, Harley Quinn).
Now, with Smith on the mend, it looks like fans can look forward to plenty more filthy stoner humor from the 20-plus-year film world veteran. And, hey, if he wants to bring Clerks or Mallrats back to Philly, we’re all for it.