‘Wheel of Fortune’ host Pat Sajak on health scare: 'I think this must be death’

He said he thought about his family

Pat Sajak arrives on the red carpet for the Stadium Series hockey game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak thought he might die during a November health scare.

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“I think this must be death,” he said in an interview on "Good Morning America" Friday, recalling his time in laying in the hospital bed. “This must be what death is like.”

Sajak was rushed into emergency surgery early last month after experiencing a “horrific pain” in his stomach. “I didn't know what it [was] but within two and a half hours, I was in surgery,” he said. The medical team discovered the host had a blocked intestine.

And if the surgery didn’t happen right away, Sajak could have died.

In those moments, “you couldn't do anything,” he said. “I was in [a] fetal position, lying on the bed. They try to give you various drugs for the pain. And none of it was working.”

He said his family, who were by his bedside, came to mind: “I could hear my wife and daughter talking. It sounded like they were a mile off, but they were right next to me. They were talking to each other and I remember thinking, ‘Their lives are going to change now.’”

The surgery was a success and Sajak said he didn’t have to make any major life changes. Aside from spending time with his family, he said he’s excited about continuing to host the show. The 36-year veteran is the longest-tenured host for the same show.

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“I've got to do this until I'm doddering. I think I still do it at a high level,” he said, adding that he’s feeling much better. “I'm feeling great. I've actually felt ridiculously good for several weeks. I've been back in the studio actually, doing shows, even spinning the wheel.”

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And he’s not thinking much about retirement, either. The host, who pulls in roughly $15 million a year, according to Forbes, told USA Today last month that while he wants to leave while the show is still popular, he's not “quite there” yet and when he does step away, “it won’t be because I’m sick of it or burned out by it; I’ll leave because it’s time to go."

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Both Sajak and hostess Vanna White renewed their contracts through 2022.

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