Youtube.com/Late Night with Seth Meyers
Source: Youtube.com/Late Night with Seth Meyers

Inside Neil Cavuto's Health Issues That Resulted in Open-Heart Surgery and His Recent Absence On-Screen

Esther NJeri
Feb 10, 2022
07:10 A.M.
Share this pen
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmail

A TV news anchor and commentator, Neil Cavuto has had one of the longest careers in television. However, his absence from Fox in the last month is alarming.

Advertisement

Neil Cavuto has hosted on Fox News and Fox Business during a TV career spanning over three decades. At one point, he hosted three television programs: "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto Live," and "Cavuto: Coast to Coast." 

But despite his resilience and dedication, Cavuto has faced some of life's toughest challenges and survived them. He has dealt with near-life-ending cancer, then with multiple sclerosis years later.

TV anchor Neil Cavuto on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" | Photo: Youtube.com/Late Night with Seth Meyers

Advertisement

BEATING CANCER

In 1987, Cavuto was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that attacks the immune system. When he first started feeling sick, he assumed he had caught a cold.

However, after hospitalization, doctors discovered a massive tumor in his chest. Biopsy revealed every person's worst nightmare. Cavuto had cancer, and it was stage 4. The diagnosis truly affected him, as it would anyone else.

The following eight months were riddled with intensive chemotherapy, followed by three months of radiation. Despite the grueling intensity of the treatment, Cavuto continued to go to work and kept his diagnosis a secret, afraid that he might lose his job

Advertisement

Host Neil Cavuto as former Senior Advisor to the Barack Obama White House Valerie Jarrett visits "Cavuto: Coast To Coast" at the Fox Business Network Studios on June 13, 2019 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Then a correspondent for PBS' Nightly Business Report, Cavuto worked through the mood swings, weight gain due to steroids, hair loss, and nausea. Cavuto recalled an instance where he began feeling sick when wrapping up a report outside the New York Stock Exchange. 

Advertisement

He wrote that he suddenly felt nauseated and threw up, barely missing a passerby. And yet, his first thoughts were to hope that no one would report his illness to their Nightly Business Report offices. 

Despite his suffering, Cavuto had a positive take on the condition and said his diagnosis made him "more focused on just trying to be a good human being rather than just a good journalist."

Television journalist Neil Cavuto attends "The Last Man on the Moon" New York screening held at the Roxy Hotel on February 18, 2016 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

After about a year of treatment, Cavuto beat cancer, but more bad news awaited the beloved TV personality. After being in remission from cancer for about a decade, Cavuto began experiencing strange symptoms. He said:

"I was stumbling and falling. I would wake up prickly. My legs felt like stilts."

With periods of blurred vision, back pain, and severe headaches, the News anchor feared for the worst. He thought the lymphoma had returned. But the diagnosis showed he had multiple sclerosis. 

Neil Cavuto hosts "Cavuto" on FOX Business Network at FOX Studios on September 23, 2014 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

The brain and spinal cord disease often cause the immune system to eat away at the protective covering of the body's nerves. It has no cure, only treatment. Cavuto says he was silent for the next four days after the diagnosis.

He was mad at the world and did not want to talk to anyone. He wondered what he had done wrong to deserve yet another life-threatening illness. But soon after, the pity party was over, and he has since learned to live with it. 

For instance, he had to make several changes, such as depending more on color-coding notes since the disease made it hard to read a teleprompter. He also became consistent at getting in a leg workout every morning. 

Advertisement

Neil Cavuto speaks with the audience during FOX's "Your World with Cavuto" live from the River Walk at Trump International Hotel & Tower on October 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. | Photo: Getty Images

"I've had this now for eight years, so I've gotten very used to the adjustments that are involved with MS. And so, when one leg goes out, I know how the other leg can compensate. When one eye goes out, I know how the other eye can compensate." He said at the time.

Advertisement

SURVIVING THE "WIDOW MAKER"

Regardless, Cavuto continued to work. He says his wife's support and encouragement have also been of great help. Her excellent attitude and light-hearted approach towards the disease have made things easier. And yet, fate was not done with him.

Mary Cavuto and Neil Cavuto attend A Celebration for the Launch of THE FOX BUSINESS NETWORK at Temple of Dendur on October 24, 2007 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

In 2016, during a routine check-up, the father of three began getting suspicious when one doctor after another kept entering his room to examine his chart after a standard stress test on his heart. He told The Wrap:

"As I was doing the stress test, I noticed all these guys in white lab coats descending on me. I thought, 'This is weird.'"

The doctors had noted an abnormality and checked him into the hospital immediately. Tests revealed he had a "widow maker," a less intimidating way of saying he had complete closure of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery.

Neil Cavuto during "Cavuto" on Fox Business Network live from the River Walk at Trump International Hotel & Tower on October 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

He had to undergo open-heart surgery, and the doctors wanted to do the bypass surgery that very day, but due to how sick Cavuto was, they delayed the procedure.

And while the procedure was successful, he had to stay off the air for three months as he recovered. He says the recovery period was a pain-filled ordeal for which he was ill-prepared. He added:

"I didn't think I would be able to return, especially when new complications would arise."

FOX News host Neil Cavuto poses on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS

Cavuto has been dealt many cards in his lifetime, from cancer to MS and open-heart surgery, yet he has survived it all. This fighting spirit is what he engaged when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2021.

Like he always does, the veteran news anchor survived the virus. The virus mainly affected those with underlying health issues, so doctors believe he is lucky to have survived it. 

Neil Cavuto arrives at the Fox Business Network launch party at the Metropolitain Museum of Arts on October 24, 2007 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

However, Cavuto believes he beat the virus only because he'd gotten vaccinated. He also urged others to get the vaccine for themselves and those around them. He told Fox News Media as reported by The Sun: 

"Had I not been vaccinated, and with all my medical issues, this would be a far more dire situation."

Cavuto has beaten all odds to survive multiple life-threatening illnesses and has had a thriving TV career. For a man that has worked for years despite his conditions, his recent absence on Fox is quite startling.

FOX News Channel's Neil Cavuto attends a book signing for his new book "Your Money or Your Life" October 13, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois | Photo: Getty Images

Advertisement

On January 17, 2022, Charles Payne tweeted he would be guest-hosting "Your World" with Neil Cavuto. And on January 20 and January 27, Sandra Smith hosted the show. There was still no sign of Cavuto.

Jackie DeAngelis guest-hosted "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" on January 24 and hosted "Cavuto Live" on January 29. The array of guest-hosts has left viewers wondering whether Cavuto is only on break or whether he has left the shows for good. 

Advertisement