The actor, known for playing “The Dude” in the 1998 cult hitThe Big Lebowski, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2020, after doctors found a “12-by-nine-inch tumour” in his stomach.
In a new interview, he has spoken about how chemotherapy eradicated the cancer but left him with a very weak immune system – meaning that when he caught Covid in January 2021, he became seriously ill.
“I had no defences,” he told People. “That’s what chemo does – it strips you of all your immune system. I had nothing to fight it. Covid made my cancer look like nothing.”
The star, who spent five months in hospital, added: “I was pretty close to dying. The doctors kept telling me, ‘Jeff, you’ve got to fight. You’re not fighting.’ I was in surrender mode. I was ready to go. I was dancing with my mortality.”
Bridges was treated with convalescent plasma therapy, a treatment that uses blood from people who have recovered from an illness, and therefore have antibodies, to help someone else get better.
The actor has since returned to work, and he can next be seen in the new drama The Old Man, in which he stars as a former CIA agent, Dan Chase, who is being pursued by an assassin.
The show is out on 16 June on FX in the US. No UK release date has yet been confirmed.