The star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off had to hit pause on his career in early 2002 after collapsing due to an unexpected illness

By Marlene Lenthang
November 11, 2016 10:00 AM

 

Alan Ruck almost lost it all.

The 60-year-old Ferris Bueller’s Day Off star shares the alarming story of an out-of-nowhere health crisis that blindsided him — and nearly left him brain-damaged — on Saturday’s Oprah: Where Are They Now?

In an exclusive clip from the episode, Ruck recounts a December 2001 episode when he collapsed in his apartment after feeling “like I had the worst flu of my life … this headache that wouldn’t quit.”

“The next thing I know, I’m hearing ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!’ And I was Nyack Hospital in Nyack New York with tubes coming out of everything, and I was sick as a dog.”

Ruck was diagnosed with Streptococcal Type G infection, which causes bacteria in the blood stream. Doctors were concerned the actor might not fully recover from the disease, which had made its way to his brain and caused stroke-like symptoms.

“The first two days they told my ex-wife [Claudia Stefany] that ‘He’s going to die.’ And then they were like, ‘No, he’s hanging in there, but he’s not going to have all his marbles.’ ”

Ruck, who was costarring with Charlie Sheen in the sitcom Spin City at the time, thankfully bounced back — not only physically, but also professionally.

“I came around. [I was] just lucky,” he says with a signature Cameron Frye-style grin and a shrug.

Oprah: Where Are They Now? airs Saturdays (10 p.m. ET) on OWN.

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