LOS ANGELES (WASHINGTON POST) - Hollywood action star Arnold Schwarzenegger was in a stable condition on Friday (March 30) after undergoing heart surgery in Los Angeles, his spokesman Daniel Ketchell told The Washington Post.
Schwarzenegger’s first words after waking from the procedure were “I’m back,” according to Ketchell.
“So he is in good spirits,” he added.
Schwarzenegger, 70, underwent a planned procedure Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to replace a pulmonic valve that was originally replaced in 1997 for a congenital heart defect, Ketchell said in a statement.
“That 1997 replacement valve was never meant to be permanent, and has outlived its life expectancy, so he chose to replace it yesterday through a less-invasive catheter valve replacement,” Ketchell said.
He noted that an open-heart surgery team was on hand during the procedure, but downplayed its seriousness.
“They frequently are in these circumstances, in case the catheter procedure was unable to be performed,” Ketchell said. “Governor Schwarzenegger’s pulmonic valve was successfully replaced.”
Schwarzenegger is recovering from surgery and remains in stable condition, he added.
“That’s the most important part,” he said.
Schwarzenegger’s condition was first reported by TMZ, which said the actor and former bodybuilding champion had undergone a “somewhat experimental” catheter valve replacement.
According to the celebrity news site, doctors decided to perform “emergency” open-heart surgery after Schwarzenegger developed complications.
Best known in the 1980s and 1990s as a former Mr Universe and for his roles in action movies like Terminator and Total Recall, Schwarzenegger, a native of Austria, transitioned from Hollywood star to politician when he successfully ran for California governor as a Republican.
From 2003 to 2011, he served two terms as governor and was nicknamed “The Governator.”
Since then, he has mixed acting and politics. Over the past year, Schwarzenegger has emerged as a vocal opponent of US President Donald Trump, publicly criticising Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and lambasting the president’s equivocation after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killed a counter-protester.
He also was the host of the New Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, an iteration of the reality show that formerly starred Trump. (Instead of “You’re fired,” Schwarzenegger’s tagline was “You’re terminated.”)
Schwarzenegger’s TV gig and outspoken criticism of Trump made him a target of the president’s insults on Twitter and elsewhere. At the National Prayer Breakfast last year, Trump asked for attendees to pray for Schwarzenegger’s ratings.
In a video, Schwarzenegger responded to Trump’s jabs with a proposal.“Hey Donald, I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs,” Schwarzenegger said. “You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings and I take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”