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Larry King Reveals He Was in a Coma After Suffering a Stroke in March: 'It's Been a Rough Year'

People logo People 11/27/2019 Joelle Goldstein
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Nothing can keep Larry King down.

While celebrating his 86th birthday on Monday, the former CNN host opened up to Extra about his health and how he’s been doing in the wake of the health scare he suffered earlier this year.

As it turns out, Larry revealed that he experienced yet another scary medical issue in March — just one month before he underwent heart surgery — that left him in a coma for weeks.

“I had a stroke,” he explained to Extra. “Everything got better except [for] my left foot, and I have been rehabbing that every day, and they tell me I’ll be walking by Christmas. Not bad, I’ve been walking with a walker.”

“It’s been a rough year, I don’t remember anything since March — I had the stroke in March,” Larry continued. “I haven’t driven a car, but I’m back at work and that makes me feel great.”

Despite being in the coma — which Larry said “lasted a couple weeks” — and undergoing heart surgery afterward, the veteran journalist noted that his doctors have been very impressed with his positive attitude.

“My head doctor said I have an incomparable spirit,” he told the outlet at his birthday bash, which was held by the Friars Club at the Crescent Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The heart surgery and stroke are far from the first medical issues that Larry has experienced in his life.

The television personality previously suffered a heart attack in 1987 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999.

In 2017, Larry revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer after getting an X-ray during a routine annual physical exam.

“I didn’t have any pain, but when they took a chest X-ray the doctor said, ‘There’s a little cloud here…,'” he told PEOPLE at the time. A CAT scan and PET scan followed, and his cancer diagnosis was confirmed.

“They said I was lucky and smart to get annual chest X-rays because lung cancer doesn’t give you any signs until it’s in late stages,” Larry explained. “And by then it’s too late.”

The journalist underwent surgery to have the malignant mass removed.

“They went in through my ribs with a tiny camera and snipped it out,” he said. “I only had a little pain and some shortness of breath, but once my speech is back full — and that took about a week — I went right back to work.”

Larry King wearing a suit and tie: Larry King | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images © Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images Larry King | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Then this past April, Larry underwent an angioplasty and also had stents inserted to reopen the previous bypass from the heart attack he suffered in 1987.

“He had an episode with his heart over the weekend and he had an artery opened up and some stents put in,” an insider previously told PEOPLE. “But he’s remarkably strong. His doctors even say they don’t know how he bounces back from everything so quickly.”

In addition to his medical woes, Larry experienced hardships in his personal life over the summer, filing for divorce from his wife of nearly 22 years, Shawn Southwick King.

Shawn King, Larry King looking at the camera: Shawn Southwick King and Larry King | Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images © Provided by TIME Inc. Shawn Southwick King and Larry King | Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

A source close to the former CNN host told PEOPLE at the time that Larry’s health scares influenced his decision to file for divorce in August.

“Larry was close to dying, and it really shook him,” the source said. “He realized that he hadn’t been happy for a long time.”

“They fought and argued all the time,” the source added of the ex-couple, who share two sons. “This was a long time coming. The marriage has been over.”

Related video: Larry King and Seventh Wife Shawn Divorcing After Nearly 22 Years of Marriage

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