Robin Williams Reveals Doctors Gave Him 'Two Weeks' To Have Heart Surgery

Robin Williams revealed his recent heart surgery was a must-have operation after doctors gave him just “two weeks” to make a decision.

On Wednesday’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” the talk show host asked Robin, “If you had not had the surgery within a proper frame of time, it would have been lights out?”

And in his response, Robin hinted his condition was very serious.

“At least, dimming… I think, yeah, they gave me… they said two weeks,” Robin told Dave. “I mean, when they initially went in, there was one doctor who I found out was going on vacation the next day who wanted to do the surgery that day. [Another] doctor said, ‘Maybe you want to wait. You never want to have a surgery with a guy who wants to go someplace’… But they said two weeks, and that allowed me to make the decisions… You want to look for someone who’s done a lot of them.”

Robin revealed that he was prompted to have heart surgery just two months ago, after he experienced some breathing problems.

“[I] was on the road doing the tour and I kept getting short of breath,” Robin said. “I realize now, shortness of breath is kind of code for ‘heart problem,’ just like exhaustion is code for ‘alcoholic.’”

Robin said that when he went in for an angiogram, doctors saw his heart “valves were shot.”

The actor is known for his hilarious appearances on late night, but he took a serious moment on Wednesday’s Letterman to thank his doctors at the Cleveland clinic.

“You do get a second lease on life, and it’s a gift,” Robin told Dave, who himself had a quintuple bypass in January 2000. “Thank you, and thank all of you. It’s, like, a great thing.”

Copyright 2014 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.