Eric Church Reveals How He Almost Died Last Year

Eric Church may be gearing up to release his new album, Desperate Man, but last year, the singer underwent a major health scare that could have potentially killed him.

Sharing the story with Rolling Stone, Church revealed that as his 2017 tour was winding down, he noticed that his hands were tingling quite often.

"I just associated it with nerves," he said. "I didn't think it was anything."

At home in North Carolina in June, things escalated, with the 41-year-old noticing that his left hand "was not responding like it should."

Looking at his arm, Church noticed it appeared swollen.

"So I peeled my shirt off and went in the bathroom, and my arm was noticeably red and enlarged," he recalled.

After Googling "thrombosis of the arm," Church had "five out of five symptoms," he added.

He drove himself to the hospital only to be told he needed an ultrasound, the closest of which was 25 minutes away. Undeterred, Church had doctors wrap up the IV in his arm before he drove himself to the second hospital, with the clock ticking closer to 5 AM.

"I was thinking about my family and kids, and how I wanted to make it back home," Church said. "But I was also thinking about the tour, and what we went through. I looked back and I honestly felt pretty satisfied that I couldn't have given another thing."

Church's tour featured no opening act, with Church playing three-hour sets each night. The trek took such a toll on him that he lost 17 pounds and spent the second half of the tour on prednisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid.

After getting to the second hospital, the star received his ultrasound results from a doctor and was informed that he had a blood clot in his chest and needed immediate surgery.

"I said, 'Can it kill me?' And he said, 'Today,'" Church recalled. "And I said, 'I need to make a phone call.'"

The singer called his wife and got himself to Duke University Hospital, arriving in an ambulance. He was immediately greeted by a doctor and brought into surgery, adding that that was the moment it hit him that, "To them, I was going to die."

After the fact, Church learned that he had a birth defect called thoracic outlet syndrome, in which the collarbone is too close to the top rib. He explained that many cases are discovered when patients are in their 20s, and with someone Church's age, "They just fall over in the shower."

The "Desperate Man" singer was in recovery for three days and later had his top rib removed, ending his summer with rehab and physical therapy. In September, he was back on the road.


"It was an interesting summer," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty / Erika Goldring