Bob Odenkirk Needed 3 Defibrillator Shocks to Get His Pulse Back After On-Set Heart Attack

The Better Call Saul star needed surgery to place stents in his heart

Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk. Photo: Stewart Cook/Shutterstock

Bob Odenkirk has his Better Call Saul cast and crew to thank for saving his life — and for filling in the blanks of what happened the day of his near-fatal heart attack.

Odenkirk, 59, suddenly collapsed on July 27 after finishing up a scene for the show's sixth and final season.

"We were shooting a scene, we'd been shooting all day, and luckily I didn't go back to my trailer," he told The New York Times in a new interview. Odenkirk instead moved to a space just off the set where he liked to sit with his costars Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian.

"I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike, and I just went down." He added, "Rhea said I started turning bluish-gray right away."

Odenkirk said that he was aware something was off with his heart, but had been given mixed advice on what to do.

"I'd known since 2018 that I had this plaque buildup in my heart," he said. "I went to two heart doctors at Cedars-Sinai, and I had dye and an M.R.I. and all that stuff, and the doctors disagreed" on a treatment plan. One said that he should start medication, while the other said he could wait — the option Odenkirk went with.

Then "one of those pieces of plaque broke up," which caused his heart attack. Seehorn and Fabian called for help, and the set health safety supervisor, Rosa Estrada, and an assistant director, Angie Meyer, started giving Odenkirk CPR and shocking him with an automated defibrillator.

The first two shocks weren't enough to bring back his pulse. Then "the third time, it got me that rhythm back," Odenkirk said.

At the hospital in Albuquerque, doctors went through the veins in his wrist "and blew up the little balloons and knocked out that plaque and left stents in two places."

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Odenkirk, though, doesn't remember anything from the episode and instead has patched together the day through Seehorn and the other people who helped him.

"That's its own weirdness," Seehorn told the Times of Odenkirk's episode. "You didn't have a near-death experience — you're told you had one."

Odenkirk spent a week in the hospital recovering, and is now back to health, easily hiking near Better Call Saul's set. He took the Times reporter on a hike with 1,015 feet of elevation just a few months after his heart attack.

Back in August, after a rush of concern from friends and family following the news of his on-set collapse, Odenkirk had thanked everyone for their support.

"I am doing great," he tweeted. "I've had my very own 'It's a wonderful life' week of people insisting I make the world slightly better. Wow! Thank you, I love everyone right now but let's keep expectations reasonable!" Odenkirk joked.

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