'Loud wake-up call': Aaron Sorkin opens up about stroke at age 61
Aaron Sorkin, 61, has revealed he suffered a stroke and is opening up about how the incident changed his outlook.
The Oscar-winning writer for "The Social Network" and creator of "The West Wing" told the The New York Times in a story published Wednesday that he had a stroke in November. It happened two months ahead of rehearsals for "Camelot," the book for which Sorkin has rewritten for its April 13 return to Broadway.
“Mostly it was a loud wake-up call,” he told 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 woke up in the middle of the night and found himself running into walls while walking — but he put off concern until the next day when he couldn't stop spilling his orange juice.
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The screenwriter's doctor told him that his blood pressure was so elevated that he should have been dead, Sorkin said.
And the stroke left its mark. Sorkin had trouble speaking, slurring his words for a month following the medical incident and struggled typing, too, for a period. Now, a remaining symptom is his lack of ability to taste food, he says.
While Sorkin once thought he was invincible, he's changed his habits. The former heavy smoker quit smoking, started following a healthier diet and has picked up working out twice daily, per the Times.
And he's also on medication, "a lot" of it, he said. "You can hear the pills rattling around in me."
By going public with his story, he told the Times, he hopes others might be prompted to stop smoking, which is a "major cause" for cardiovascular disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has been cited to increase risk of stroke in multiple studies.
“There was a minute when I was concerned that I was never going to be able to write again,” he told the Times.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Writer, director Aaron Sorkin, 61, reveals he had a stroke