'I could have died': Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals surgery scare

Arnold Schwarzenegger opened up about his shock emergency open-heart surgery in a university speech to 2020 graduates in the US.

The 72-year-old actor went under the knife in March 2018 for what was supposed to be a minimally invasive procedure to replace a faulty pulmonary valve in his heart but when doctors discovered internal bleeding, it turned into open-heart surgery.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has opened up about open-heart surgery in which eh could have died. Photo: Getty Images

The actor was left barely able to walk or eat just months out from shooting a major action flick.

He opened up about the harrowing experience in a speech shared online this week, along with a very personal and touching explanation on social media.

“My advice to graduates on overcoming obstacles during coronavirus,” he wrote on Instagram.

“Because of coronavirus, you are graduating into a world filled with obstacles, so I wanted you to know that no matter how successful you are, there will always be obstacles. But you can overcome and move toward your vision.”

He went on to explain that though it went against his European upbringing, he felt compelled to open up about the near-miss surgery in order to help the students with motivation.

“Europeans don't talk about medical issues much, we protect them like state secrets,” he wrote. “Maybe it's a sign I'm Americanised, but I wanted to share the story of my heart surgery going south four months before 'Terminator'. I hope it gives you motivation in these hard times."

Arnold underwent the surgery four months before shooting Terminator: Dark Fate. Photo: 20th Century Studios

Arnold revealed that just four months before shooting Terminator: Dark Fate he underwent emergency open-heart surgery after a routine procedure went wrong.

“They said they broke through the heart wall, and there was internal bleeding, and I could have died if they didn't open up my sternum and do open-heart surgery,” he said in the speech.

Arnold explained that thinking about shooting the sixth Terminator movie, got him through and pushed him to recover.

“That's what I was shooting for,” he said. “So, I started declaring little victories. After I did the first 500 steps with the walker, I declared victory. After I had an appetite again to eat normal, I declared victory.”

He admitted those graduating into a coronavirus or post-coronavirus world wouldn’t have it easy, but compelled students to draw on his example to realise they could overcome anything.

“No matter how successful you are, life will throw obstacles in your path like it was with my heart surgery or like with your graduation now,” he said.

“But if you have a very clear vision like I talked about earlier, of exactly what you want to do, and who you want to be, you can go and find a way around all of those obstacles.”

With reporting by Bang Showbiz!

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