‘Monk’ Alum Jason Gray-Stanford ‘Grateful’ for Life-Saving Heart Transplant

When opening up about his experience of living with heart failure, the 51-year-old actor admits that he was initially ‘grappled with the diagnosis and also denied it.’

AceShowbizJason Gray-Stanford has opened up about his past health issue. Revealing that he had heart transplant surgery back in 2020, the former “Monk” star said he’s “grateful” to be alive after a battle with heart failure.

The 51-year-old shared his story in a personal essay published by TODAY on Friday, February 25. The actor divulged that his health issue began in 2018 when his heart was “beating oddly” while filming in Vancouver, Canada.

Jason was later returned to Los Angeles, where he was diagnosed with a stage 1 heart failure. “I grappled with the diagnosis and also denied it. It felt impossible that I was so sick. But I started medications to help me live with heart failure. My heart became healthier and my ejection fraction even improved,” he recalled.

While he managed to enjoy “a mostly normal life” for the next two years, things took a turn at the end of December 2019. He said he blacked out in the middle of a spin class. “One moment I was pedaling with everyone else; the next I woke up on the floor with the entire class peering down at me. I had blacked out on the spin bike. I was terrified,” he recounted. “How could I lose so much time? Why did I end up on the floor? Suddenly, I was being rushed to the hospital.”

“The situation felt grave. Doctors wanted to give me a pacemaker to help my heart pump and a defibrillator to shock my heart back into rhythm if it became erratic again. It felt surreal,” he continued elaborating. “I thought if I stuck with healthy habits and took my medicine, I’d be better. I didn’t want a pacemaker or a defibrillator. Those were for old people. I wasn’t even 50 yet. But the doctors explained that these devices would help me be healthy and active.”

Fast forward to November 2020, he “landed back in the hospital again.” He said of his doctors, “Finally they gave me the honest assessment: I was on all the best medications they had and they weren’t working. My only option was a heart transplant.”

It didn’t take long for Jason to undergo the surgery since he got a heart with a 95 percent match “right when [he] needed it.” He later shared, “When I woke the next day and took a breath without struggling, I felt relief… I felt grateful for the new heart beating in my chest, working better than my old one. I can’t express how appreciative I am to the anonymous donor family who gave their loved one’s heart so I could live.”

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