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The country star opens up about a terrifying medical incident that nearly took his life.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
July 26, 2018

In a revealing interview with Rolling Stone, country music star Eric Church got candid about a blood clot that nearly killed him. For fans of the musician, it's hard to imagine the high-energy arena rocker sitting in a hospital undergoing emergency surgery, but Josh Eells paints an evocative picture of the harrowing situation in the latest issue of the legendary magazine:

"As his arena tour was winding down last year, Church noticed that his hands were tingling a lot. 'I just associated it with nerves,' [Church] says. 'I didn’t think it was anything.' But then in June, he was back home in North Carolina and noticed something strange. 'I was watching the College World Series and texting about golf,' he says. 'And this hand' – he holds up his left hand – 'was not responding like it should.' He looked at his arm, and it appeared a little swollen. 'So I peeled my shirt off and went in the bathroom, and my arm was noticeably red and enlarged.'

After a google search of "thrombosis of the arm," and realizing he had five out of five symptoms, he drove to the hospital where he learned he would need to head to another hospital for an ultrasound. "After what felt like an eternity, the doctor gave him the ultrasound results: He had a blood clot in his chest. He needed surgery immediately," writes Eells. “I said, ‘Can it kill me?’ And he said, ‘Today.’ And I said, ‘I need to make a phone call,’" Church recalls in the interview.

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Church would find out that it was a birth defect that positioned his upper rib too close to his collarbone that was the culprit. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and Church was able to devote the rest of his summer to rehab and physical therapy. "The doctors told Church he was very lucky. 'Normally, if you’re athletic, you’ll start having issues at 21, 22, 23,' [Church] says. But with people his age they don’t usually find out until it’s too late. “They just fall over in the shower," Church recounts.

In typical Church-speak, he quips of the experience, “It was an interesting summer."

Read the full interview here