Smith, who had performed the first of what was slated to be two standup comedy shows in Los Angeles, gave the alarming report on social the next morning that if he hadn’t canceled his second show Sunday and gone to the hospital, he would have died. As it turns out, the 47-year-old Clerks filmmaker had a total blockage of his left coronary artery, an extremely critical condition.
He managed to be wry about the situation, posting, “For now, I’m still above ground.”
I was trying to do a killer standup special this evening but I might’ve gone too far. After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life at the #glendale hospital told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (also known as “the Widow-Maker” because when it goes, you’re a goner). If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight. For now, I’m still above ground! But this is what I learned about myself during this crisis: death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life. When the time came, I never imagined I’d ever be able to die with dignity – I assumed I’d die screaming, like my Dad (who lost his life to a massive heart attack). But even as they cut into my groin to slip a stent into the lethal Widow-Maker, I was filled with a sense of calm. I’ve had a great life: loved by parents who raised me to become the individual I am. I’ve had a weird, wonderful career in all sorts of media, amazing friends, the best wife in the world and an incredible daughter who made me a Dad. But as I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content. Yes, I’d miss life as it moved on without me – and I was bummed we weren’t gonna get to make #jayandsilentbobreboot before I shuffled loose the mortal coil. But generally speaking, I was okay with the end, if this was gonna be it. I’ve gotten to do so many cool things and I’ve had so many adventures – how could I be shitty about finally paying the tab. But the good folks at the Glendale hospital had other plans and the expertise to mend me. Total strangers saved my life tonight (as well as my friends @jordanmonsanto & @iamemilydawn, who called the ambulance). This is all a part of my mythology now and I’m sure I’ll be facing some lifestyle changes (maybe it’s time to go Vegan). But the point of this post is to tell you that I faced my greatest fear tonight… and it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined it’d be. I don’t want my life to end but if it ends, I can’t complain. It was such a gift. #KevinSmith
A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on Feb 26, 2018 at 1:41am PST
The photo drew concerned responses from fans, including his friends and acquaintances in the film and TV world, such as Tom Arnold, Jack Osbourne, and Finn Wolfhard.
Hey @ThatKevinSmith just sending you some love. Speedy recovery my man.
— Jack Osbourne (@JackOsbourne) February 26, 2018
Buddy! So glad you’re okay. ❤️❤️
— Finn Wolfhard (@FinnSkata) February 26, 2018
One well-wisher even caused a bit of controversy. Actor Chris Pratt, star of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, posted a string of tweets asserting that he would pray for Smith. “I’m praying my ass off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer,” he noted, asking others to pray along with him. He then added another tweet:
Praying for you. I will continue to. You inspired me with Clerks when I was a senior HS. I’m tagging my Lb/rb football coach who showed me the movie cause he believed in me and knew I’d be inspired. @hodge1916 ♥️ https://t.co/syB7BiQaoY
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) February 26, 2018
The response on Twitter was swift, with many users replying negatively to Pratt’s request and connecting it to the oft-repeated “thoughts and prayers” phrase that many are finding grating in the current climate of multiple public shootings.
However, Pratt was defended by his Guardians director James Gunn, who posted a lengthy Twitter thread explaining that he feels the concept of prayer can be misunderstood. “Prayer isn’t for everyone but, in the face of helplessness, it’s often meant as a acknowledgement that one cares.”
So I just read Chris Pratt’s tweet to Kevin Smith saying he would pray for him & made the mistake of reading the comments, many of which go off on Chris for saying he’d pray. I think people misunderstand the backlash against “thoughts & prayers.” (thread)
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 26, 2018
Smith has creatively driven a collection of films over a 25-year career. He most recently appeared as himself in the film The Disaster Artist and has directed several episodes of both The Flash and Supergirl for the CW network.
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