Bob Harper might be one of the fittest men on the planet, but that didn’t save him from suffering a massive “widow-maker” heart attack while working out at his gym in February.
The 51-year-old “Biggest Loser” star opened up about his harrowing experience on The Today Show on Tuesday and explained exactly what happened and how it has changed his life.
“I was in full cardiac arrest,” Harper, who came out as gay in 2013, told “Today’s” Savannah Guthrie. “My heart stopped. Not to be dramatic, but I was dead. I was on that ground dead.”
The fitness expert said he was revived by two doctors who also happened to be at the gym and was then transported to the hospital where he lay unconscious for two days.
“I was so confused,” he said. “I was like Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ because I had this short-term memory, so I was reliving the heart attack over and over again [in the hospital]…I was like, wait, why am I here? What happened to me? And 10 minutes later I was asking the same thing and getting super emotional.”
The terrifying experience has had a huge effect on Harper, who had some practical advice for “Today” viewers.
“Genetics does play a part in this,” Harper noted. “It’s so important to know your health… There were things going on inside of my body that I needed to be aware of. I strongly encourage anyone that’s listening right now to go to the doctor, get your cholesterol checked, see what’s going on on the inside so it doesn’t happen to you.”
But it may be his emotional and philosophical reactions that are the most poignant.
“You really face your mortality,” he admitted. “And I’m really understanding what’s important, and what’s really important in life. And let me tell you… I am not sweating the small things anymore. And I am not sweating the big things anymore. I care about my friends. I care about my family. I care about my dog. I am going to appreciate every single day that I’m here.”
Wise words we can all learn from ― whether we’ve had a near-death experience or not.