Mark Ruffalo's Tense Moments: 'Golf-Sized' Tumor Diagnosis Before First Child's Birth

Actor's Health Scare Leads to Life-Changing Surgery.

by Nouman Rasool
Mark Ruffalo's Tense Moments: 'Golf-Sized' Tumor Diagnosis Before First Child's Birth
© Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

In a recent episode of the SmartLess podcast, hosted by the trio Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, Hollywood veteran Mark Ruffalo shared a chilling story that has left fans and listeners deeply moved. The 56-year-old actor recounted a life-altering experience from 2001, which unfolded in the wake of his breakout role in "You Can Count on Me." After undergoing a CAT scan, spurred by what he described as an 'intense' dream and a pervasive 'sense of doom,' he faced a daunting diagnosis.

"The nurse's words were like a thunderbolt," Ruffalo recalled. "I had a brain tumor, the size of a golf ball, lurking ominously behind my left ear." The diagnosis came as a shock, particularly since his only symptom had been a seemingly innocuous ear infection.

The timing of this discovery was particularly poignant as Ruffalo's wife, Sunrise Coigney, was on the cusp of giving birth to their first child, Keen, who is now 22. Ruffalo chose to withhold the news from his wife until after the birth of their son, not wanting to cloud the joy of their new arrival.

Ruffalo's Surgical Ordeal

He faced a surgical procedure to remove the tumor, which, while thankfully benign, carried significant risks. "I was confronted with stark realities – a 20% chance of facial paralysis and a 70% chance of losing hearing in my left ear," he shared.

Post-surgery, he awoke to partial facial paralysis and complete deafness in one ear – conditions that would define his life thereafter. Ruffalo's resilience and determination have been nothing short of remarkable. Not only did he and Coigney welcome two more children, Bella Noche, 18, and Odette, 16, but he also achieved astounding success in his career.

His portrayal of The Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2012 catapulted him to global fame. Ruffalo's talent and versatility as an actor have earned him the distinction of being one of the few artists nominated for all four major entertainment awards in the United States (EGOT).

His accolades include two Emmy Awards, a Grammy nomination, four Oscar nominations, and a Tony Award nomination. Mark Ruffalo's story is a testament to the human spirit's capacity to overcome adversity, a narrative that resonates with anyone facing their own battles, reminding us all of the power of hope and perseverance.