Jimmy Kimmel says ‘tough’ 7-year-old son had open heart surgery for third time

Comedian’s son, Billy, was born with a rare congenital heart condition

Ellie Muir
Tuesday 28 May 2024 09:06 BST
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Tom Holland surprises Jimmy Kimmel's infant son

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Jimmy Kimmel has praised his “brave” son after the seven-year-old underwent open heart surgery for the third time.

The late-night talk show host, 56, told fans that his son – who was born with a rare congenital heart condition – had undergone cardiac surgery in a post shared on social media dedicated to his family and the staff at the hospital where Billy was treated.

“This weekend, our boy Billy had his third (of three, we hope) open heart surgery,” Kimmel said on Instagram. “We went into this experience with a lot of optimism and nearly as much fear and came out with a new valve inside a happy, healthy kid.”

The comedian thanked the fans who took time to “pray” for Billy during his surgery, and encouraged readers to consider donating money to the LA Children’s Hospital, where Billy has been treated since he received his first open heart surgery when he was just three days old.

“Thanks to those loving strangers who took time to pray for and send positive energy to our baby, thanks to our family and friends for rallying around us to an almost-ridiculous extent, thank you to my wife Molly for being stronger than is reasonable for any Mom to be and Billy, you are the toughest (and funniest) 7-year-old we know.”

Kimmel’s son, Billy, smiling after his third open heart surgery
Kimmel’s son, Billy, smiling after his third open heart surgery (Instagram via @jimmykimmel)

“Walking around this hospital, meeting parents at their most vulnerable, children in pain and the miracle workers who do everything in their considerable power to save them is a humbling experience.”

Kimmel expressed his gratitude for his son’s health, saying: “There are so many parents and children who aren’t fortunate enough to go home after five days.”

Jimmy Kimmel and his wife Molly McNearney
Jimmy Kimmel and his wife Molly McNearney (Getty Images)

Kimmel often updates his fans on Billy’s condition. In 2017, Kimmel performed an emotional monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, recounting the health crisis that he and his wife, his wife, Molly McNearney, were faced with just days after Billy’s birth.

He told the audience that Billy appeared to be a normal healthy baby at first, but three hours after he was born, a nurse noticed a heart murmur and that he was turning purple.

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Billy was taken to the neonatal ICU where a doctor determined the baby wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his blood.

“They did an X-ray and his lungs were fine which meant his heart wasn’t,” Kimmel said in his monologue. “It’s a terrifying thing – my wife is back in the recovery room, she has no idea what’s going on and I’m standing in the middle of a lot of very worried-looking people, kind of like right now,” he joked to the audience.

The doctors did an echocardiogram, which is a sonogram of the heart, and found that Billy was born with a rare congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with pulmonary atresia – in which there was a hole in the wall separating the two sides of his heart.

Kimmel explained: “Basically, the pulmonary valve was completely blocked and he has a hole in the wall between the left and right sides of his heart.”

Billy was then taken in an ambulance to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he underwent open heart surgery at just three days old.

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