Kelsey Grammer nearly died after heart attack

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Television star Kelsey Grammer, best known from “Cheers” and his sitcom “Frasier,” nearly died after suffering a heart attack last month, he told U.S. showbiz news program “Entertainment Tonight.”

Actor Kelsey Grammer (R) arrives with his wife Camille at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Grammer, 53, felt chest pains while paddle-boarding with his wife in Hawaii, where they have a second home, and was taken to hospital, where he was found to have suffered a heart attack.

At the time, about seven weeks ago, his spokesman Stan Rosenfield said it was a mild heart attack but declined to give further details of Grammer’s condition or medical treatment.

But Grammer told “Entertainment Tonight” that the heart attack was not actually mild at all and he nearly died because his heart stopped.

“They had to blast me twice and get me started all over again,” he told the news program in an interview to be aired on Thursday evening.

“I did think: ‘Oh gosh, I have got to hang on. I’ve got too much junk I’ve got to take care of. I’ve got to take care of the family.’”

Grammer, who stars with Kevin Costner in the political comedy “Swing Vote” that opens August 1, said it felt “like somebody was actually trying to tear my chest apart with, like, the jaws of life.”

Grammer’s heart attack came three weeks after he learned the Fox network was canceling his sitcom “Back to You,” in which he played a pompous, womanizing TV news anchor opposite Patricia Heaton. The series lasted only one season.

“Obviously you play the hand you’re dealt, and it has been a very interesting hand lately; it has been tough,” he said.

Grammer gained fame portraying the snooty but lovable psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane for 20 years on NBC, first as a supporting player on the comedy hit “Cheers” and then as the lead in the Emmy-winning spinoff series “Frasier.”

Grammer also supplies the voice of the recurring character Sideshow Bob on the Fox cartoon series “The Simpsons.”