Four-time Oscar nominee speaks out about huge brain tumor that paralyzed half his face
The world-famous American actor Mark Ruffalo recalled how in 2001, after a "disturbing dream," he went to the doctor and learned that he had a tumor the size of a golf ball in his head. The Emmy and Golden Globe winner, as well as an Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy and Tony nominee, who is also up for an Oscar this year for his film Poor Things, said that after the surgery he was completely deaf in one ear, and the left side of his face was paralyzed. He couldn't even close his eyes.
The Marvel star spoke about his difficult journey in a new episode of the SmartLess podcast. According to the DailyMail, Ruffalo recalled that he was forced to undergo a CT scan by a severe nightmare, which he "decided to deal with immediately." The actor admitted that he went to the doctor with a "sense of doom."
"The nurse called the doctor, I heard them talking in the other room. She came in, looking like a zombie, and said, "You have a golf ball-sized mass behind your left ear, and we don't know what it is. We won't be able to tell until we do a biopsy," said the star of the cult movies.
Before the celebrity was diagnosed, the only symptom he suffered from was an ear infection. Even though the tumor, fortunately, turned out to be benign, the 33-year-old (at the time) Ruffalo needed surgery to remove it.
At the same time, the actor's wife Sunrise Coigney was due to give birth to their first child, son Keen, who is now 22 years old. In order not to upset the woman, Ruffalo waited until the baby was born and only then told his beloved the disappointing news.
"When I told Sunny, she thought I was joking at first. And then she just burst into tears and said, "I always knew you would die young," the actor said.
The day after Ruffalo told his wife the news of his condition, he met with a neurologist to draw up a treatment plan and have the huge tumor surgically removed. The doctor immediately warned him about the risks of the surgery. In particular, he noted that there was a 20 percent chance of "killing" the nerve on the left side of the patient's face and a 70 percent chance of losing hearing in the left ear. Unfortunately, the risks came true.
"I was completely deaf in one ear, and when I woke up, the left side of my face was completely paralyzed. I couldn't even close my eyes. I could only speak with the edge of my mouth. A year later, the paralysis went away, but the hearing loss remained," the actor said.
As you know, Ruffalo is now raising three children with his wife. In addition to 22-year-old Keen, there are 18-year-old Bella Noche and 16-year-old Odette. He is one of the few actors in the world who has been nominated for all four major U.S. awards (EGOT) in his career. This year, he runs for an Oscar for his role in Poor Things.