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Arnold Schwarzenegger announces 'I'm back' after waking up from heart surgery

Mr Schwarzenegger is in good spirits, according to his spokesperson

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 30 March 2018 20:12 BST
Mr Schwarzenegger first had the valve put in place in the 1990s
Mr Schwarzenegger first had the valve put in place in the 1990s

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in stable condition after undergoing heart surgery in Los Angeles.

“I’m back,” Mr Schwarzenegger, 70, said when he woke up following the procedure, according to his spokesperson Daniel Ketchell.

“So he’s in good spirits,” Mr Ketchell wrote on Twitter.

The procedure was planned, according to the statement, and was conducted in order to replace a pulmonic valve that was originally installed after Mr Schwarzenegger was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in 1997.

The valve from 1997 was never meant to be permanent, and had outlived its life expectancy.

The procedure itself was a less-invasive catheter valve replacement, Mr Ketchell said, and open heart surgeons were prepared during the surgery just in case.

“They frequently are in these circumstances, in case the catheter procedure was unable to be performed,” the statement read. “Governor Schwarzenegger’s pulmonic valve was successfully replaced.”

Mr Schwarzenegger, who served as the 38th governor of California from 2003 until 2011, is perhaps best known for his work in major blockbuster films. That includes title roles in the “Terminator” franchise.

After serving his eight years in Sacramento, Mr Schwarzenegger transitioned back into the entertainment sphere, and became the host of the “New Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC, which was a reboot of the reality television series that thrust President Donald Trump into American living rooms for years.

Mr Schwarzenegger has used his persistent fame — and clout as a former governor — to frequently criticise his “Celebrity Apprentice” predecessor, and has taken the president to task on a range of issues including his response to climate change, and the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year where one counter-protester was killed when a man drove his car through an assembled group.

His high profile has led him to be a target for the president, who asked congregates during the National Prayer Breakfast last year to pray for Mr Schwarzenegger’s ratings.

The Austrian-born Hollywood celebrity-turned-politician shrugged off the jabs.

“Hey Donald, I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs,” he said. “You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job, and Then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”

Mr Schwarzenegger said that he would not return for another season of the show last year after a single season, saying that Mr Trump’s connection to the show were hurting its image.

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