Aaron Sorkin Says He Had a Stroke Last Year — and It Motivated Him to Quit Smoking

Sorkin said in a recent interview that his doctor told him he was "supposed to be dead" because his high blood pressure had been so high

Bruce Glikas/Getty
Bruce Glikas/Getty

Aaron Sorken had a major health scare that changed his life.

The writer and producer, 61, revealed in an interview with The New York Times that he had a stroke in November, two months before rehearsals for his adaptation of Camelot, was scheduled to begin.

He recalled the incident to the Times saying that he woke up in the middle of the night one day and kept "crashing" into walls and corners as he had tried to make his way to the kitchen. Then the next morning, he was unable to carry orange juice to his office without it spilling.

He decided to call his doctor who told him to come in immediately, and after a checkup it was determined that Sorkin's blood pressure had been sky high, prompting his doctor to tell him that he was "supposed to be dead."

Related: 'NCIS' Alum Pauley Perrette Says She's 'Super Healthy' After Suffering Massive Stroke Last Year

He told the Times that following the incident, he slurred his words, had trouble typing, couldn't sign his name and even couldn't taste food, a problem he told the publication still persists.

"There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again," he told the Times. "And I was concerned in the short-term that I wasn't going to be able to continue writing Camelot."

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However, he said he was able to recover and had been taking medications to help with symptoms. He told the publication he was "fine" and "wouldn't want anyone to think I can't work."

Sorkin described the whole event as one "loud wake-up call," which motivated him to ultimately quit smoking — something he had done heavily since high school — and take on a more cleaner diet and begin working out twice a day, per the Times.

"I thought I was one of those people who could eat whatever he wanted, smoke as much as he wanted, and it's not going to affect me. Boy, was I wrong," Sorkin said.

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The Times noted that the The West Wing creator had only mentioned his stroke in passing and was initially hesitant to discuss what had happened, but decided to tell his story to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle.

"If it'll get one person to stop smoking, then it'll be helpful," he told the publication. Camelot is scheduled to open on Broadway on April 13 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, according to Playbill.

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