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Jimmy Kimmel celebrates his son’s 5th birthday by thanking doctors who saved him

Kimmel's son Billy was born with a congenital heart defect and has undergone multiple surgeries.
ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" - Season 15
Jimmy Kimmel was grateful to bring his little boy, Billy, to the set of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" after he recovered from heart surgery.Randy Holmes / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Jimmy Kimmel celebrated his son Billy's fifth birthday by sending his love to the doctors who saved the boy’s life. 

“Happy 5th birthday to our little nut,” the late-night talk show host wrote on Instagram Thursday along with a photo of Billy and his candle-lit cake. “We are eternally grateful to the brilliant doctors and nurses at @ChildrensLA & @CedarsSinai for saving Billy’s life and to those of you whose donations, prayers and positive thoughts meant everything. Please support families who need medical care.” 

Kimmel shares Billy and his 7-year-old sister, Jane, with his wife, Molly McNearney. He is also the father of 30-year-old daughter Katie and 28-year-old Kevin with his ex-wife, Gina Kimmel, to whom he was married from 1988 to 2002. 

Billy was diagnosed at birth with a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot. Symptoms can include skin with a bluish tint, shortness of breath, heart murmurs and fainting. The condition typically requires surgery, as was the case for Billy, who had an open-heart procedure during his first week of life. 

Eleven days later, Kimmel told his fans in a passionate monologue during “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” about how a nurse detected a heart murmur and a purple skin tone in his infant son. Billy was taken into surgery, where a doctor fixed one of the two defects in his heart, Kimmel explained, adding, “It was the longest three hours of my life.” 

Billy has undergone multiple heart surgeries since then. After his family's experiences, Kimmel has made it a priority to champion the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2010. The law ensures that health insurance companies can’t deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 

RELATED: Jimmy Kimmel shares raw moments from son’s hospital experiences

Today, Billy is a kindergartner who is thriving — and who clearly has a sense of humor. Last year, he and his sister joined their dad’s “Workplace Harassment Training: Working from Home” skit, during which he slurped juice and crawled on a table.