Kevin Sorbo, the star of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, suffered a series of strokes while filming the series, which aired from 1994 to 1999.
The 52-year-old actor reveals the story behind his health crisis in his book True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life.
The actor told Neurology Now how at age 38, he began experiencing pain, aches, tingling, and cold sensations in his left arm and hand.
“At the time, I was promoting the feature film Kull the Conqueror,” Sorbo told Neurology Now. “I had several doctors on my publicity tour check me out, but they didn’t believe it was anything serious. I even had what seemed like a rational explanation, having recently injured my ulnar nerve — the funny bone.”
Sorbo then felt pain in his left shoulder while lifting weights, so he went to his chiropractor, who cracked his neck to ease the tension.
But on the way home, Sorbo began to experience blurry vision, dizziness and buzzing in his head. He awoke the following day with slurred speech and could barely walk.
He checked himself into the hospital, where tests determined that an aneurysm in an artery near his shoulder had caused “severe disruption of blood flow to his lower arm.”
Sorbo underwent surgery, and after the procedure, he learned that he had suffered three distinct strokes. He went through a long recovery process. The producers on Hercules brought on several guest stars and rewrote scripts to aid his recovery.
“I felt like I had been transformed overnight from a youthful, carefree jock into someone who needed to grasp the backs of chairs and counters for an arduous five-yard trip to the bathroom,” Sorbo said, adding: “I went through two years of hell before I began to feel like myself again. I was depressed and frustrated and had a bad attitude.”
I’m really happy that the aneurysm was discovered in time and Sorbo could recover. However, I don’t think his bad attitude has gone anywhere, as his digs about Lucy Lawless and her show Xena: Warrior Princess can attest.
This isn’t the first time Sorbo has spoken about his aneurysm. In a 2007 interview with FilmStew, he ranted about being owed a small part in one of Hercules and Xena producer Sam Raimi’s films after busting his ass on Hercules.
Hopefully, one day he’ll fully heal from perceived injustices.