The 61-year-old former talk show host spent 21 days in the hospital after suffering from a cerebellar hemorrhagic stroke this summer after an intense workout.
“This gave me a wake-up call in a lot of ways,” Williams said of the stroke. “I was pushing way harder than I should [have been] pushing, chasing this weird body ideal that I had when I was a kid. A very close doctor friend of mine said to me, ‘So what? So you can be the best looking fu*king corpse in the morgue? What good does that do you?’ And it took those words and this stroke to set in. I said, ‘I gotta stop.’”
Williams went onto describe is experience in the hospital, saying, “I could barely talk. I couldn’t sit up. I couldn’t stand. I was almost paralyzed, it was terrifying. But I remember telling myself, ‘You’re not dying. You’re not quitting. You’re going to fight this. You’re going to get this back.’”
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Regardless of the physical trauma suffered, Williams is determined to stay active, with intentions of doing it the healthiest way possible this time around.
“I’m way ahead of the rehab game right now. My physical therapist, Paul Reilly, asked early on, ‘What do you want to get out of this?’ And I said, ‘I’d love to snowboard again this year.’ So we set that goal and we’re almost there. I really need another month before I’m beyond that acute phase of having a stroke. But I made it back. I got it back. And I probably will snowboard in January.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.