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Kevin Smith: Having a heart attack was the best thing that ever happened to me

The "Clerks" director talked about cheating death after a massive heart attack in February and revealed he's lost 32 pounds.
by Scott Stump / / Source: TODAY

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Kevin Smith nearly died from a heart attack two months ago, but the dramatically slimmed-down director now sees it as a blessing in disguise.

"I feel great. Honestly the heart attack was the best thing that ever happened to me,'' Smith told Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin on TODAY Monday in his first interview since the health scare.

Smith, 47, suffered a heart attack on Feb. 25 in between shows in California. Doctors told him if he hadn't canceled the second show and rushed to the hospital, he would've died.

The "Clerks" director and "Comic Book Men" host said doctors informed him the heart attack he suffered is known as a "widowmaker," which gets its nickname from its low survival rate. He had a 100 percent blockage in the left anterior descending artery (LAD), one of three arteries that supply blood flow to the heart.

The New Jersey native didn't even know he had suffered a heart attack until he was in the operating room. He was awake as doctors went through his groin to insert a stent in his heart to save his life.

In classic Smith fashion, he said he was singing the uplifting theme song to "Degrassi: The Next Generation," a Canadian teen television show, as the doctors worked on him.

"I was talking the whole operation,'' Smith said. "(The doctor) told me later on, 'You're very chatty.'''

The stent gave him immediate relief when doctors opened it.

"I felt like instantly better,'' he said. "It made sense, none of the blood was going through there for who knows how long. I had 100 percent blockage, so I wasn't getting proper oxygen. So now I feel great."

He showed off a 20-pound weight loss only two weeks after his heart attack and said Monday that he has now lost 32 pounds on the way to his goal of losing 50 pounds.

"This is the weight I was when I met my wife,'' he said. "This is a good weight to be at. Last time I weighed this little, I scored big time."

Smith lost some of the weight on a plant-based diet espoused by magician Penn Jillette, who has shed more than 100 pounds.

However, after struggling a little with an all-vegetable diet, he now has joined Weight Watchers as an ambassador for the weight-loss program.

"I think I'm going to try to lose like 25 more pounds on the program,'' he said. "So far it's good."

The father of an 18-year-old daughter is also grateful to be around for a proud moment. He is going to the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday to see his daughter, Harley Quinn, in the movie "All These Small Moments" with Molly Ringwald.

"As a big John Hughes kid I was like, 'How did you work with Ringwald before me?''' he joked.

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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