Michael Richards opens up about private prostate cancer battle in 2018

Michael Richards is opening up about his private battle with cancer in 2018.

The "Seinfeld" star, 74, explained how a diagnosis with stage 1 prostate cancer after a routine checkup changed his relationship with mortality, in an interview with People magazine published Thursday.

"I thought, 'Well, this is my time. I'm ready to go,'" he recalled. "But then my son came to mind just a few seconds later and I heard myself saying, 'I've got a 9-year-old and I'd like to be around for him. Is there any way I can get a little more life going?'"

Although it was caught early, there was an urgent need for interference.

"It had to be contained quickly. I had to go for the full surgery," Richards told the outlet.

He added: "If I hadn't, I probably would have been dead in about eight months."

The diagnosis also prompted him to write his upcoming memoir, "Entrances and Exits."

'It hasn't been easy': 'Seinfeld' star Michael Richards reflects on aftermath of racism scandal

"I had over 40 journals I'd kept over the years and wanted to do a full review of my life," Richards said. "I'm turning 75, so maybe wanting to do that is something that comes with being my age. I wanted to connect with feelings and memory. I'm surprised at how much I was able to remember."

In his upcoming memoir, the actor also opened up about the racial slur incident that stymied his career nearly 20 years ago.

"I was immediately sorry the moment I said it onstage," Richards told People. "My anger was all over the place, and it came through hard and fast. Anger is quite a force. But it happened. Rather than run from it, I dove into the deep end and tried to learn from it. It hasn’t been easy."

He added: "Crisis managers wanted me to do damage control. But as far as I was concerned, the damage was inside of me."

During a stand-up show at West Hollywood's Laugh Factory in November 2006, Richards went on a tirade and hurled racial slurs at several hecklers, who were reportedly Black.

"I'm not racist," he told People. "I have nothing against Black people. The man who told me I wasn't funny had just said what I'd been saying to myself for a while. I felt put down. I wanted to put him down."

Contributing: KiMi Robinson

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Richards opens up about private prostate cancer battle