Bob Odenkirk reflects on near-fatal heart attack 1 year later

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3-min read

Bob Odenkirk is feeling grateful one year after his near-fatal heart attack on the set of Better Call Saul.

"A Thank You to you, whoever you are," he wrote Wednesday on Twitter. "A year ago today I briefly flirted with 'quietus' and this elicited a wave of goodwill and warmth towards me. I will forever feel unworthy of it. I will also always be appreciative and look to pass it on."

Odenkirk was shooting the show's season six episode "Point and Shoot" in Albuquerque, N.M., on July 27, 2021, when he experienced the medical emergency. Word that the Breaking Bad and Mr. Show star, 59, collapsed on set hit social media and there was a collective holding of breath until his son, Nate, tweeted the succinct: "He's going to be okay."

When Odenkirk broke his silence, he described the medical emergency as a "short heart attack" and said he'd be taking time off — which turned out to be five weeks — to recover. However, he's since detailed the dire nature of it in interviews. His heart stopped beating for 18 minutes and CPR and triple shocks from a defibrillator kept him going long enough to get to the hospital. He later had surgery to clear plaque buildup from his left heart anterior.

Odenkirk has talked about all the things that aligned that day that ultimately saved his life. On a break from shooting, he didn't go back to his trailer, but to an empty studio were he rode an exercise bike while watching a Chicago Cubs game with co-stars Rhea Seehorn (Kim Wexler) and Patrick Fabian (Howard Hamlin). They rushed to him as he fell and positioned him safely on the floor. On-set medic Rosa Estrada did CPR for 12 minutes and, by chance had a defibrillator in her car. She was supposed to return the device, which shocks the heart to restore a heartbeat, to a friend who she borrowed it from but, by chance, the person wasn't home so it remained in her car. It also helped that Odenkirk had been in good shape for his film Nobody, explaining, "You kind of enlarge some of the other veins around your heart, if you work out a lot. And I was told then that more blood was able to go to my heart during CPR because these veins were just a little bit bigger from a lot of working out."

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 25: Actor Bob Odenkirk  throws the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on July 25, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Bob Odenkirk threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on July 25. He was watching a Cubs game on TV while riding an exercise bike almost exactly one year earlier when he suffered a heart attack. (Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Odenkirk doesn't remember that day at all, calling it a "complete blank." The episode he had been working on that day recently aired. While the majority of it was filmed before the heart attack, he said, "Hopefully you can't tell when I had the heart attack and when I didn't."

Earlier this week, Odenkirk threw out the first pitch at a Cubs game. He's otherwise been busy promoting the final episodes of his AMC show, which airs its series finale up Aug. 15.

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