NEW JERSEY — Filmmaker Kevin Smith suffered a "massive heart attack" in between weekend performances, and survived to warn others about the signs he said he may have missed.
“I am still above ground,” he tweeted from his hospital bed.
The New Jersey native had just finished the first of two tapings for his upcoming stand-up special in Glendale, Calif., Sunday night when he started to feel ill.
He decided to cancel the second show, opting to go to the hospital -- and it proved to be life-saving.
“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 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight," he tweeted.
Smith has never kept his struggle with weight a secret, candidly sharing an embarrassing and now-infamous incident aboard a flight nearly a decade ago when the pilot asked him to deplane after he couldn’t fit in a seat.
The incident ultimately inspired him to lose nearly 100 pounds, making his recent medical episode all the more surprising.
“He’s very lucky, very lucky,” said Dr. Stanley Szwed, chairman of Cardiac Services at Saint Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic, N.J.
According to Szwed, the one lesson everyone should learn from Smith’s heart attack is: don’t wait.
“If you have chest tightness, if you have chest pressure, any symptom that occurs with exertion, you should say something,” he said. “You should present to a cardiologist or your internist and get it addressed as soon as possible.”
While the tell-tale signs of a heart attack fall in the realm of chest pain, nausea and difficulty breathing, the symptoms are typically different for women.
“They may just complain of heaviness or tightness, not necessarily the classic chest pain,” Szwed said.
He also said that age is not always a factor.
While it still remains unclear what Smith’s recovery will entail, the filmmaker did hint on Facebook that “it may be time to go vegan.”