Renowned for his role in “The Old Man,” Jeff Bridges has unveiled the latest on his skirmish with cancer, disclosing that his tumor has diminished “to the proportions of a marble” subsequent to his series of chemotherapy sessions.
In an extensive feature in AARP magazine, Bridges shared a comprehensive account of his convalescence from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and his severe bout with COVID-19 in early 2021. The distinguished Oscar laureate elucidated on the discovery of a “9-by-12-inch neoplasm” within his abdominal cavity in March 2020 while the cast and crew of “The Old Man” were on hiatus due to pandemic-imposed constraints.
“I was enacting those pugnacious sequences for the premiere installment of ‘The Old Man’ without the slightest inkling of the presence of a 9-by-12-inch growth in my corporeal vessel… One would anticipate a measure of discomfort during those sequences,” he remarked. “Curiously, there was none.”
As he embarked on the arduous path of chemotherapy, the fateful news arrived in January 2021 that he had contracted COVID-19. “My immune defenses were annihilated by the effects of chemotherapy, rendering me exceedingly vulnerable,” he shared, underscoring his inability to ambulate or even perform the most rudimentary movements during the initial days of his five-week hospitalization. “For me, the ordeal of cancer paled in comparison to the torment wrought by COVID,” he added.
He admitted to grappling with the sensation of impending mortality, recollecting his physician’s admonition, “Jeff, you must summon your inner strength. You are not putting up a fight.”
“However, I lost my grasp on that sentiment. I found myself surrendering to fate. I would quietly muse, ‘Every soul must eventually depart this realm, and this is my odyssey towards the next frontier,'” Bridges continued. “I would overhear my inner voice utter, ‘Well, here we stand, embarking upon the next expedition.'”
What served as his lifeline throughout those challenging weeks was the affection of his circle of friends and family. “The affection I received was exponentially intensified during this period,” he articulated. “Not only the warmth emanating from those in close proximity, but also the affection that welled up within my own heart for them. My actions were more akin to acquiescing to love, wouldn’t you agree?”
“My wife, Sue, emerged as my unwavering champion,” he appended. “She fervently resisted the prospect of my reliance on a mechanical ventilator. I was averse to the notion, and the medical practitioners weren’t unequivocally endorsing it either. Yet, Sue remained steadfast in her stance.”
After enduring weeks of hospitalization and several additional months convalescing at home while tethered to oxygen reservoirs, Bridges is on the cusp of returning to the set of “The Old Man” for the commencement of Season 2. His tumor has now dwindled “to the proportions of a marble,” and although the repercussions of his bout with COVID still persist, he has regained his upright posture and is primed for action. He even had the privilege of escorting his youngest daughter, Hayley, down the aisle in August 2021.
“I count myself as profoundly fortunate to reunite with this ensemble, engaging in discourse and musical improvisation,” he expressed with enthusiasm about his return to collaborate with his fellow “The Old Man” artisans. “Resuming the pursuit that rejuvenates one’s spirit—it’s an exhilarating experience, my friend.”