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Jeff Bridges is thankful to be alive after surviving non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, and COVID.
In this week’s issue of People magazine, the Oscar winner detailed his difficult year and a half and how he “was pretty close to dying.”
The 72-year-old’s terrifying health saga all started one morning while he was doing his usual exercises at home. The actor felt something strange in his stomach and was compelled to get it checked out by his doctor.
“I had a 12-by-9-inch tumor in my body,” Bridges recalled. “Like a child in my body. It didn’t hurt or anything.”
“The Big Lebowski” star was diagnosed with cancer. He quickly began chemotherapy by infusion, followed by oral chemo. The tumor began to shrink.
Actor Jeff Bridges detailed his difficult year and a half involving his health. (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
“They got a cocktail that worked, and oh man it worked fast,” said Bridges. “That thing just imploded.”
But then things took a turn for the worse in January 2021. The star had contracted the coronavirus and the vaccine wasn’t yet available. The chemo treatment had weakened his immune system, making it difficult for Bridges to fight the virus. The outlet shared that Brides spent nearly five months in the hospital suffering from extreme pain. He couldn’t even roll over in bed without calling the nurse to help him with oxygen.
“COVID made my cancer look like nothing,” he said. “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.”
Susan Geston and Jeff Bridges will be celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary on June 5. (David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Bridges’ health improved after his medical team gave him convalescent plasma, a type of therapy that uses blood from people who’ve recovered from an illness. As Bridges gained his strength each day, he started working with a physical therapist three times a week.
Today, Bridges is in remission. He’s back at work on set, has a new grandson and puppy, and is gearing up to celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary with his wife Susan on June 5. He’s also keeping busy with his philanthropic work, along with creating guitars using sustainable wood with Breedlove Guitars.
Bridges noted that his three daughters and three grandchildren have made him hopeful about his future and what it holds for him.
Jeff Bridges introduces his daughter Jessie Bridges during his concert with The Abiders at The City National Grove of Anaheim in California. (Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
“Who would say, ‘I’d love some cancer and give me a dose of COVID?’” said Bridges. “But my ability to receive all the love and give it was just heightened. Everything was turned up in the most beautiful way.”