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Mark Cagney reveals he came ‘face to face with the Grim Reaper’ after near-fatal strokes

Mark Cagney has revealed he came “face to face with the Grim Reaper” after suffering near-fatal strokes.

The former Ireland AM star suffered two strokes this year, and opened up about the scary ordeal with VIP Magazine.

The 64-year-old said that while he’s had many “brushes with life”, this was “the most personal brush of all”.

The presenter told the publication: “When it does happen, all sorts of mad stuff goes through your head. I think it’s an Oscar Wilde quote that goes: ‘Life gives us the test first and then the lesson after’.”

“You don’t really realise what has happened until after. Coming face to face with the Grim Reaper is a bit scary, and you do start to make deals in your head with whoever, y’know, ‘make sure my family are okay’.”

“And then I started to think, ‘Hey, I’m not done yet. I still have a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old and they’re not through school yet, they’re not through college yet.”

“I haven’t finished doing my job which is teaching them, guiding them, seeing them equipped to stand on their own two feet so they can go off about themselves in the world. The job isn’t done,” Mark said.

“And that’s the most important job. In the end it’s the only job that actually matters… You have two choices in life: you go on or you go under. People are rooting for you, people need you, you can’t fail or flunk on them, you have to go on.”

Pictures: Cathal Burke / VIPIRELAND.COM

Mark revealed he received a phone call while lying in his hospital bed in the stroke ward of Beaumont Hospital that changed his outlook on life.

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“I was lying there going, ‘c’mon, enough is enough, give me a break,’ and [broadcaster] Fergus Finlay called me to wish me well. I was moaning a bit going, ‘Jesus, I can’t catch a break and then this happens.'”

“And he says, ‘I know exactly what you mean, but here’s the thing: maybe this is the break. Because to survive you’ve had an enormous amount of luck. Yes, life has landed you a huge lemon on your lap, but you can make more lemonade with that.'”

“Then I looked around the ward and saw a number of different scenarios that could have been me. A pulmonary embolism and an acute stroke – either one of them should have done me. Lucky, lucky, lucky boy – someone was looking out for me.”

Pictures: Cathal Burke / VIPIRELAND.COM

“So what can you do with that? Make as much lemonade out of that giant lemonade as you possibly can,” he said.

Mark returned to Ireland AM last month for the first time since 2019, where he opened up about his recovery.

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