“THEY cut off my leg, but I’m still alive!”
In an amazingly candid exclusive interview with The National ENQUIRER, down-on-his-luck Jan-Michael Vincent has revealed the “amputation horror” that nearly cost him his life.
The 69-year-old former “Airwolf” star – ravaged by booze, drugs and violence – told The ENQUIRER he found himself at “death’s door” when a medical crisis forced doctors to remove most of his right leg two years ago.
Sitting beside third wife Anna, Jan-Michael said the nightmare surgery resulted from complications of peripheral artery disease.
“An infection in my leg got steadily worse,” The “Big Wednesday” star told The ENQUIRER. “I felt like I was beaten with a whip, one thing after another.”
The former ’80s heartthrob – who played Stringfellow Hawke, the pilot of a high-tech helicopter flying missions for a CIA-like agency in the CBS series – said he’s “blocked out” the operation at Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Explained Anna: “When the doctor said they had to amputate, I almost fainted, but I had to be brave for him. “He was delirious and hallucinating. They were giving him powerful pain meds and propofol – the stuff that killed Michael Jackson. “They said the infection was so bad that he might not survive. “I remember one horrible night in the hospital. I had to help hold him down and keep the oxygen mask on him so he could breathe.”
Jan-Michael told The ENQUIRER: “I know I was on life support and a ventilator. When I finally woke up it, (my leg) was gone.” Despite a month in the recovery unit, another infection developed and doctors had to perform a second amputation, removing more of his leg.
With his wife’s help, Jan-Michael has learned to walk again with a prosthetic limb, although at times he’s forced to use a wheelchair.