In an exclusive conversation, Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges takes us through his harrowing battle with lymphoma and COVID-19, underscoring his unwavering resilience in the face of life-threatening adversity.
A Discovery Amidst the Action
Jeff Bridges, known and adored worldwide for his unmatched acting prowess, was diagnosed with lymphoma during the filming of the inaugural season of the hit series, "The Old Man".
His diagnosis stemmed from a peculiar pain in his stomach, which was later found to be a massive tumor measuring 30 by 22 centimeters. Remarkably, despite the magnitude of his ailment, Bridges confessed that he hadn't felt unwell, making the revelation all the more shocking.
His brave struggle took an even more perilous turn when he contracted the coronavirus in 2021, during his chemotherapy. The virus brought him to the brink of surrender, with his immune system weakened by the cancer treatments.
Speaking candidly about his experience, Bridges shared that he had been hospitalized for five months. “For me, cancer was nothing compared to the Covid,” Bridges told AARP Magazine in a heartfelt interview. He added, “I had no immune system to fight it.
Chemo had wiped that out, which made it really, really tough”.
Battling Shadows, Embracing Life
Bridges paints a poignant picture of his fight, recounting how he grappled with the reality of his condition, struggling to breathe and walk.
Amidst this struggle, he found himself teetering on the edge of acceptance. “I remember the doctor saying to me, ‘Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting,’” Bridges said. “But I didn’t get it anymore.
I just didn’t know how to do that. I was in surrender mode. I’d say to myself, ‘Everybody dies, and this is me dying.’” Yet, his inherent optimism and fighting spirit sparked a different approach to the circumstances.
He recalled, “For me, in that hospital bed, the obstacle was death. And that was the way. I asked myself, ‘How are you going to go about it?’ And I thought, ‘I’m a dancer, man, and I’m a musician.
I’m going to jam with this situation, you know?’” In an uplifting turn, the 73-year-old actor announced earlier this year that his tumor had shrunk to the size of a marble. The cast of "The Old Man" has been a constant source of support throughout his recovery journey.
This positive development also means that he may soon return to filming the series, with the second season expected to be released in early 2024.