The Biggest Loser host Bob Harper on near-fatal heart attack: ‘Not to be dramatic, but I was dead’
Bob Harper made his first television appearance today since his recent heart attack and shared how close he was the death.
The openly gay host of NBC’s The Biggest Loser suffered what is known as a ‘widow maker’ heart attack of which only 6% of victims manage to survive.
‘I was in full cardiac arrest. My heart stopped,’ he said on NBC’s The Today Show. ‘Not to be dramatic, but I was dead. I was on that ground dead.’
It was his good fortune that he was stricken while working out at a New York City gym and his life was saved by doctors who were also there attending an event.
Harper doesn’t remember that Sunday morning at all. He was told he went ‘down to the ground’ after a CrossFit workout with friends.
He was in a coma for a few days and when he woke up he was very confused.
‘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…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.’
Because he was in such good shape and seemingly the picture of health, Harper said having a heart attack at 51 ‘was hugely shocking to me.’
He’s learned a lot since then and how much genetics play a part and recommends everyone get their cholesterol levels checked. He admits he had also been suffering from some dizzy spells that he did not take seriously.
‘It is so important to know your health. There were things going on inside my body that I needed to be more aware of.’
The recovery isn’t just physical at this point – it’s emotional too.
‘I’m going through some depression. You really face your mortality. 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.’
Harper says he ‘feels good’ these days and has been diligently doing his cardiac rehab three times a week.
‘I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m doing exactly what the doctors tell me to do.’