Inspirational Stories of Celebrities Who Had Strokes

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  • August 17, 2012

Some celebrities can make your stomach turn. From the booze-filled antics of the young and rich to the spend-happy behaviors of just about every celebrity, you wouldn’t think that much about them could be helpful. However, many well-known celebrities have suffered acute strokes and fought back. These men and women had a life changing brain event, yet they all went on to further success in their personal and professional careers. They can serve as a source of inspiration and motivation to stroke survivors when the going gets tough.

Bret Michaels

In 2010, former rocker Bret Michaels was rushed to the hospital with abdominal pain. At that time, it was found that he had appendicitis, and the offending organ was successfully removed. However, later on in the year, he had a blinding headache and was readmitted into the hospital. He had suffered a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage, bleeding around the brain, which nearly killed him. Later on in the year, Michaels had a transient ischemic attack that was found to be due to an underlying specific heart defect, patent foramen ovale. For the most part, he’s made a complete recovery. Michaels is only 49 years old, and he has bounced back to continue performing and pursuing his life’s goals.

Dick Clark

Dick Clark is perhaps one of the most visible celebrities to suffer a stroke. In 2004, he announced that he had type 2 diabetes, and later in the year, he was hospitalized with a stroke. This is, unfortunately, a very common complication from diabetes, and it left Clark unable to host the New Year’s Eve party from Times Square that year. He did return, but he struggled with dysarthia on his telecasts in subsequent years. However, his confidence never seemed to flag, and although he struggled to make himself clear to viewers, he continued on with his life’s work of entertaining millions until his death in 2012.

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas is a handsome star of the stage and screen. He is well known for the movies in his youth and his famous son, but some know him as an example of what life is like after a stroke. In 1996, he had a stroke that permanently affected his ability to speak clearly. Working tirelessly with speech therapists, he was able to make a moving acceptance speech when awarded an honorary Academy Award in the same year. He is still going strong at 95 years old, and he is currently the oldest active celebrity blogger. Although the stroke may have affected his ability to speak, it did not keep him from communicating through new media with the world at large.

Tedy Bruschi

The last person you would expect to suffer a stroke is someone who is young and athletic, but New England Patriot’s linebacker Tedy Bruschi fits that description. He had just finished playing in a pro bowl in 2005 when he started to have numbness, blurry vision, and a headache. It was found that he had a mild stroke that was caused by a congenital hole in his heart. Although he did experience one sided paralysis, Bruschi was cleared to play again within a year. He was elected a defensive team captain and went on to several more years of football. He retired in 2009 and currently heads up a foundation to raise stroke awareness.

Mark McEwen

Mark McEwan began his professional career as a weatherman, but he eventually parlayed that on camera work into being a features reporter for the popular CBS This Morning show. He had interviewed famous politicians and celebrities alike, but in 2005, he came up against the toughest struggle of his life. He had a massive stroke and fought for his life for several days. When he finally recovered, he had one-sided paralysis and was confined to a wheelchair. He didn’t let that stop him, though. He worked with physical therapists to eventually move to a walker and then to walk on his own. Even though the stroke did partially affect his ability to speak, McEwen was able to rehabilitate his speaking voice and return to broadcasting, and he wrote a book detailing his journey back. He is still anchoring the news for a California CBS affiliate.

Candice Bergen

Candice Bergen is known for her supermodel looks and her Emmy award winning work on the Murphy Brown Show. It is not well known, but she also suffered a stroke in 2006. She really did not want to talk about it because she was afraid people in Hollywood would discriminate against her. So, she kept it to herself and kept moving on. Only now is she talking about what she went through, and she admits that her memory is not what it used to be. It is the only sign she has of the stroke, but she has not let it stop her. She agreed to be in a stage play recently, and she finds it is helping her cope with her stroke – even if it takes her a bit longer to learn her lines.

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