Last summer, Bob Odenkirk experienced a “heart related incident” while on the set of “Better Call Saul” filming the show's sixth season and was rushed to the hospital in New Mexico.
The actor has been referring to his health scare last summer as a “heart incident” rather than a heart attack, as prompted by doctors, joking to TODAY’s Willie Geist that he’d “love a doctor to explain to me what the difference is.”
On a recent episode of Willie's "Sunday Sitdown" podcast, the 59-year-old actor candidly discussed his "heart incident," recalling the traumatic day on set and how his life has changed since.
“My widow-maker artery was completely blocked,” Odenkirk explained. “That’s why it’s called the widow-maker, because you die when that happens. But I went down. And I was very lucky that my co-stars, Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian, were right nearby.”
The actor said that Seehorn and Fabian immediately rushed over to him after his collapse and raised the alarm, which alerted Angie Meyer and Rosa Estrada, the show’s health officer, who then began CPR on Odenkirk.
“They came out and did CPR properly right away, broke my ribs like you’re supposed to and carried on until the ambulance arrived,” he explained to Willie. “And also, Rosa had an AED device, which is a defibrillator, in her car. So because she had that, she was able to go get it and it took only three tries.”
Odenkirk was told that it turned out to be a “pretty shocking” day on set in his absence, calling the moment “traumatizing” for his co-stars and the crew members who were there to support him on set and at the hospital. In addition to the love he received from those closest to him, Odenkirk received an outpouring of support across social media after the incident.
“(Social media) is a cesspool. But occasionally it’s not,” he said. “Occasionally it’s a place that people share their best selves. And that’s what people did with me. And I didn’t know about it ’til about a week or two later when people showed me the outpouring of love that came my way that I don’t deserve. But I appreciate very much. And for the rest of my life will be thinking about and trying to be worthy of.”
Despite the incident occurring nearly eight months prior, Odenkirk admitted that he is still “getting that perspective” from his health scare. When Odenkirk talked to TODAY's Hoda Kotb earlier this month, he said he has been experiencing a “very slow epiphany” since.
“Just appreciation for the life I get to live and the people in my life,” he explained to Willie. “We’re all so driven these days, and pack our days full of work and activity and you gotta take a moment to just look people in the eye and appreciate that they’re with you. And to tell ‘em you love ‘em. And I’m gonna try to do a better job of that moving forward.”
The “Nobody” actor also cited how the recent death of Bob Saget, who died in January at age 65, made him reflect on his own life.
“I only met him one time and he really was a genuinely sweet guy who cared about other people,” Odenkirk said. “And you could have a brief conversation with him and feel very connected very quickly. I would like to try to be a little more like him as I move forward.”
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