Deezer D, the actor and rap star who played Nurse Malik McGrath for 188 episodes through 15 seasons on ER, is himself now hospitalized and awaiting heart surgery.
“I’m just praying and God is watching over me,” he told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview. Deezer D, whose real name is Dearon Thompson, explained that he had been experiencing recurring pneumonia for the last year, and he had “over 10 episodes of heart failure in the last eight months alone.”
On July 7, he saw a new cardiologist who finally found the problem. “I have a heart valve that is leaking and the aorta had expanded to way beyond what it is supposed to be. As soon as the doctor identified what was going on, he put me in here.”
The aorta is the largest artery in the body and carries blood away from the heart to all the other arteries. “The problem with my aorta is the same thing that killed John Ritter,” Deezer D said. “I am so grateful that my doctor found it in time.”
Ritter died in 2003. His aortic condition was undiagnosed and he died in a hospital emergency room.
Deezer D will have the aorta replaced and the valve fixed in during surgery scheduled for July 14. He expects to remain hospitalized for about seven days following the surgery.
“What I was going through for the last year – that was scary,” Deezer D said. “I’m fearless about the surgery.”