• Diseases / Medical Conditions

Famous People Who Survived Heart Attacks

Suffering a heart attack, a common cause of death worldwide, is a major fear for many. However, the below famous survivors of heart attacks show that it does not have to be a death sentence. Knowing the signs of a heart attack, and promptly seeking medical intervention, can save your life. The celebs below opted to speak openly about their struggles with heart disease, raising public awareness and shining light on often ignored symptoms and warning signs. 

Heart attacks and heart disease often require sufferers to make some adjustments to better their health. Many celebrities who survived heart attacks had to make major lifestyle changes. David Bowie, for example, ended his touring career after having a heart attack in 2004 and Kevin Smith adopted a plant-based diet after his nearly fatal heart attack in 2018. While no one wants to deal with the aftermath of a heart attack, these stars help show the public that life goes on afterwards. Knowledge can be a powerful thing and simply knowing what happens during a heart attack can help inspire people to discuss their risk of heart disease openly with their doctors. To learn more about famous people who had heart attacks, read the list below. 

  • Bob Odenkirk took to Twitter on July 30, 2021, to confirm he had suffered a "small heart attack" as well as to thank fans and friends for their support.

     "Hi. It's Bob. Thank you. To my family and friends who have surrounded me this week. And for the outpouring of love from everyone who expressed concern and care for me. It’s overwhelming. But I feel the love and it means so much," he tweeted.

    In a follow-up tweet, he added, "I had a small heart attack. But I'm going to be ok thanks to Rosa Estrada and the doctors who knew how to fix the blockage without surgery. Also, AMC and SONY's support and help throughout this has been next-level. I'm going to take a beat to recover but I'll be back soon."

    On July 27, 2021, Odenkirk had been rushed to the hospital after collapsing on the Culver City, CA, set of Better Call Saul

  • Dec. at 69 (1947-2016)

    David Bowie ended his touring career after having a heart attack in 2004. He had heart surgery and continued to record music until his death from cancer in 2016.

  • Clerks director Kevin Smith said that having a heart attack in 2018 was the best thing that ever happened to him as it prompted him to change his lifestyle. Since suffering the heart attack, Smith has embraced a plant-based diet and lost weight. 

  • Age: 88

    Larry King had a heart attack in 1987, which he attributed to years of smoking in a 2014 interview.  King stated, "I smoked from age 16 to age 54 and I never thought I could stop until that heart attack. I’ve never smoked since." 

  • Kelsey Grammer had a heart attack in 2008 and nearly died when his heart stopped. He explained in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that it felt "like somebody was actually trying to tear my chest apart with, like, the jaws of life."

  • Rosie O'Donnell discussed her heart attack, which she suffered at the age of 50, in her 2015 stand-up special A Heartfelt Special. During the show, she admitted she ignored her symptoms until finding out via a Google search she had five out of five signs for a heart attack. While her doctor estimated she had her heart attack on a Monday morning, O'Donnell did not seek medical treatment until Wednesday evening.

    O'Donnell used her special to encourage women to be more aware of heart attack warning signs and seek medical help early. 

  • Alex Trebek had a mild heart attack in 2012 and has since been relatively healthy besides a 2017 surgery related to a head injury he sustained after a fall. 

  • At the age of 42, John Mellencamp suffered a heart attack. Despite this, Mellencamp did not give up his chain smoking habit for years afterwords as he feels it helps his singing voice. 

  • Dick Cheney had his first heart attack when he was 37 years old and had five more heart attacks over the years. In 2012, he had a full heart transplant surgery. He made sure that George W. Bush knew about his condition when he was tapped to become Vice President.

    "In the end I was up to the task. And for the next eight years I survived," he said.

  • Age: 56

    Celebrity trainer Bob Harper had a heart attack in 2017, which greatly changed his perspective. In a 2018 interview with the NBC news outlet Better, Harper stated: 

    I became so much more aware of how precious this life is and that life can turn on a dime and lights can go out before you know it. I found that I'm much more appreciative and much more passionate. Once you've had a heart attack, and survive it, you're part of the club — the heart attack survivors club — you want to be able to get the message out to help people as much as you can.

  • In 2012, soccer star Fabrice Muamba went into cardiac arrest - and technically died - while playing at White Hart Lane. He was revived at the hospital 76 minutes after his heart stopped.