Celebrities & Pop Culture

Kevin Smith Suffered A Massive Heart Attack, But Going To The Hospital Saved His Life

The director reflected on his terrifying experience with an uplifting note.

You may know Kevin Smith as the director of “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy” and “Mallrats.” Or you may have heard him performing standup or on one of the many podcasts he hosts. Needless to say, Smith is a busy man! But if he hadn’t put work on hold to attend to his health for one night, all that could have come to an end.

According to a tweet from Smith’s personal account, he recently suffered a major heart attack, and it was the decision to go to the hospital that saved his life:

“After the first show this evening, I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (aka ‘the Widow-Maker’). If I hadn’t canceled show 2 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight. But for now, I’m still above ground,” he tweeted this morning.

Smith explained the incident in further detail on Facebook, sharing the symptoms that made him feel so unwell. He wrote:

“I was trying to do a killer standup special this evening but I might’ve gone too far. After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack.”

He continued, “If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight.”

What Is A Widow Maker Heart Attack?

The heart attack known as the widow maker happens fast, which is why it can be so lethal. In fact, it’s the same type of cardiac arrest that suddenly killed the character Jack Pearson on “This Is Us.”

Dr. Richard Katz, director of the George Washington University Heart and Vascular Institute, told Time.com:

“A widow maker heart attack occurs when that artery suddenly goes from 80 percent or 90 percent narrowed to 100 percent narrowed. … It happens very quickly, and suddenly you’re depriving a large chunk of that heart muscle from oxygen.”

Here’s a breakdown from the Cleveland Clinic on how arteries supply blood flow to the heart and an explanation how the widow maker occurs:

Heart disease, particularly coronary artery disease, can lead to heart attacks. According to the Mayo Clinic, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, stress and genetics all play a part in causing heart disease.

Following his heart attack, Smith wrote on Facebook that the incident caused him to think differently about the way he’s been living his life. For starters, he is reconsidering his diet. “This is all a part of my mythology now and I’m sure I’ll be facing some lifestyle changes (maybe it’s time to go Vegan),” he wrote.

‘I’ve Had A Great Life’

The director’s health emergency has already had a profound effect on him, in part because he faced his greatest fear: death. Smith found himself realizing that if he did die from his widow maker heart attack, he would be at peace with how he has lived his life. He wrote on Facebook:

“[T]his is what I learned about myself during this crisis: death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life. When the time came, I never imagined I’d ever be able to die with dignity… But even as they cut into my groin to slip a stent into the lethal Widow-Maker, I was filled with a sense of calm. I’ve had a great life: loved by parents who raised me to become the individual I am. I’ve had a weird, wonderful career in all sorts of media, amazing friends, the best wife in the world and an incredible daughter who made me a Dad. But as I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content.”

He concluded his Facebook post writing:

“But the point of this post is to tell you that I faced my greatest fear tonight… and it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined it’d be. I don’t want my life to end but if it ends, I can’t complain. It was such a gift.”

And perhaps that’s the greatest lesson of all. We’re pleased that Smith not only survived his heart attack, but that it instilled in him a sense of gratitude even greater than he had before. Get well soon!