Pop Culture

Dick Cheney: I said goodbye to family before heart surgery

Three years ago, former Vice President Dick Cheney was so close to death that he said goodbye to his family and provided them with instructions for his cremation.

Cheney writes about the experience in his upcoming book, “Heart: An American Medical Odyssey,” and will talk about it in a live appearance Monday on TODAY. He details a private medical struggle that stretched across 35 years and included five heart attacks. His condition ultimately led to emergency surgery in 2010 and a heart transplant at age 71.

“If this is dying, I remember thinking, it’s not all that bad,” Cheney writes in the book, according to The New York Times, which obtained an advance copy. “I believed I was approaching the end of my days, but that didn’t frighten me. I was pain free and at peace, and I had led a remarkable life.”

Cheney told his wife, Lynne, and his daughters, Liz and Mary, that he wanted his body cremated and the ashes flown to Wyoming.

“They weren’t eager to discuss it,” he writes. “For them, talking about it made an already difficult situation even worse. But I needed them to know. And I needed to say goodbye.”

On Monday on TODAY, Cheney will sit down with Savannah Guthrie in his first live television interview about his new book.