by Corinne Heller | Mon., Apr. 2, 2018 11:20 AM
Arnold Schwarzenegger has undergone emergency open-heart surgery and his condition is stable, his spokesperson said Friday.
The 70-year-old Terminator actor, one of the most famous action stars in the world, a former governor of California and a father of five, underwent the operation after developing complications following a scheduled less-invasive procedure at a Los Angeles hospital.
His spokesperson, Daniel Ketchell, said on Twitter on Friday that on Thursday, Schwarzenegger "underwent a planned procedure to replace a pulmonic valve that was originally replaced due to a congenital heart defect in 1997."
"@Schwarzenegger is awake and his first words were actually 'I'm back,' so he is in good spirits," he said.
"That 1997 replace valve was never meant to be permanent, and has outlived its life expectancy, so he chose to replace it yesterday through a less-invasive catheter valve replacement," he said. "During that procedure, an open-heart surgery team was prepared, as they frequently are in these circumstances, in case the catheter procedure was unable to be performed."
He said Schwarzenegger's pulmonic valve was "successfully replaced" and that the star "is currently recovering from the surgery and is in stable condition," adding, "We want to thank the entire medical team for their tireless efforts."
Schwarzenegger's family, including wife Maria Shriver, have not commented. The actor updated fans on his condition Monday via Twitter.
It’s true: I’m back! I went to sleep expecting to wake up with a small incision and woke up with a big one - but guess what? I woke up, and that’s something to be thankful for. Thank you to the doctors & nurses. And I’m truly filled with gratitude for all of the kind messages.— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) April 2, 2018
The actor's 1997 surgery was elective and his spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times at the time that the procedure was carried out to repair a "congenital condition that's existed in his family."
"I've never felt sick or had any symptoms at all, but I knew I'd have to take care of this condition sooner or later," Schwarzenegger himself said in a statement, according to the newspaper. "I said to the doctors, 'Let's do it now, while I'm young and healthy.' They agreed this was the way to go."
The spokesperson also told the outlet that "steroids have nothing to do with this."
Schwarzenegger, a former Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia, had acknowledged using steroids when he was a bodybuilder.
Aurelien Morissard/IP3/Getty Images
Schwarzenegger did not tell his wife about his 1997 surgery and instead pretended he had merely gone on vacation.
He said on CBS' 60 Minutes in 2012 that his doctor told him he was "crazy" when he said he planned to keep the operation secret from her.
"He said, 'Your wife is pregnant, what do you mean you are not going to tell her?'" he said. "I told him, 'Here is the plan, I am going to have the heart surgery, you do it quietly, no one knows about it, we do it at six in the morning. Four days later I am out of here and I go to Mexico and I will tell Maria I am down here, a little busy and I am on vacation, when I come back I'll be tanned and no one will know.'"
(Originally published at 8:40 a.m. PT)
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