Jeff Bridges, 72, recalls COVID-19 battle during chemo: ‘I was pretty close to dying’

Jeff Bridges on the red carpet
Jeff Bridges says he came close to death after contracting COVID-19 last year. Pic credit: ©

Hollywood icon, Jeff Bridges, has spoken out about coming close to death after contracting COVID-19 while still battling cancer.

The 72-year-old The Big Lebowski actor contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma disease in early 2020 and had been making good progress until COVID-19 hit him in January 2021, and it hit him real hard.

Jeff Bridges went into ‘surrender mode’ after contracting COVID-19

After contracting the coronavirus, Bridges said he went into “surrender mode” and “was pretty close to dying”. He was hit so hard because his immune system had been severely weakened by the chemotherapy he’d received for the lymphoma.

Speaking to People, Bridges explained: “I had no defenses. That’s what chemo does — it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it. COVID made my cancer look like nothing.”

The actor also said the doctors were constantly telling him he had to “fight,” but shockingly, he claimed, “I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality.” Thankfully, The TRON: Legacy actor began to improve.

The Los Angeles resident spent five months in a hospital trying to recover. He was placed on oxygen and given plasma from patients who had already recovered from COVID-19. Bridges slowly but surely began to regain his strength: “I started taking baby steps,” he explained.

Bridges had not been vaccinated at the time as he contracted COVID-19 just before the vaccines became widely available.

One good thing came out of Bridges’s long convalescence period: the chance to spend lots of time with his family. The actor has been married to Susan Geston for over 40 years, and the pair had three children together.

Jeff Bridges announced his lymphoma diagnosis on Twitter

Bridges publicly announced in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Referencing The Dude on The Big Lebowski, he wrote: “As the Dude would say.. New S**T has come to light. I have been diagnosed with lymphoma. Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good.”

Jeff Bridges tweet
Pic credit: @TheJeffBridges/Twitter

Lymphoma specifically targets the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and organs that helps the body fight off infections and also processes any toxic substances or waste.

But the good news is Bridges has been in remission since September 2021, and he even has a new show coming out next month. The Old Man features Bridges as CIA man Dan Chase and costars John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman.

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