Frankie Muniz, the former child star of the comedy series "Malcolm in the Middle," says he is "happy to be alive" after suffering a mini stroke last week, adding that the health scare was a "wakeup call" for him to relax more.
The incident appeared to be particularly shocking for the young actor, who is nowadays a drummer for the band Kingsfoil, as he also says that he maintains a relatively healthy lifestyle and never drank alcohol, did drugs or smoked a cigarette -- all risk factors for strokes and mini strokes, or transient ischemic attacks.
The actor celebrates his 27th birthday on Wednesday. He revealed news about his health scare a day earlier on Twitter. He was hospitalized on Friday after experiencing symptoms from a mini stroke. That afternoon, his fiancee Elycia Marie Turnbow posted an Instagram photo of the actor lying on what appears to be a hospital bed, Tweeting: "Please be ok."
Muniz, who lives in Arizona, told People magazine that on Friday, he had his morning workout and then rode on his motorcycle to pick up a few things at his fiancée's mother's home. Suddenly, his vision in his right eye became blurry.
"I thought I had something on the visor of my helmet," he told the magazine. "I couldn't focus out of my right eye. By the time I got to her mom's house, I pretty much had no vision in my right eye."
By the time he arrived back home, he said, he was "really dizzy" and felt a lot of pain in his body and head.
"My hands were numb," he told People. "I didn't really have good balance and I was almost dropping the bike. I never had this before. I was like 'What's going on?' ... I felt like I was getting stabbed in the head - the worst headache you could ever think of. I couldn't see anything."
His speech also changed.
"Something wasn't right," he told ABC News. "I knew I did not feel right. I couldn't say words and I thought I was saying them and my fiancée was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language."
A mini stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to a part of a person's brain for several hours, causing symptoms such as weakness, lack of coordination, memory loss, dropping in the face, vertigo and changes in mood, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
A mini stroke is most likely to occur in people older than age 55, those with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. People with a history of substance abuse as well as cigarette smokers have a bigger chance of experiencing all types of strokes.
"I literally to this day never had a sip of alcohol in my life," Muniz told ABC News. "I've never had any drugs. I've never even smoked a cigarette."
In 2007, Muniz told the Toronto Star newspaper that he has "zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol" and even has a tattoo of the word "ZERO" because of it.
The actor said in his recent interview with People that while he "eats like a 7 to 10-year-old," he considers himself to be "very healthy."
"My biggest problem is I always want to be working, going non-stop," he said. "So it's a wakeup call to take a little time and relax a bit."
The actor said on Twitter on Wednesday that he was "enjoying a nice RELAXING birthday," adding: "Thank you everyone for all the kind messages you are sending me! Means a lot to me!"
"BEING RETIRED WITH $40,000,000.00 AT 19"
Muniz was not even a teenager yet when he filmed his first on-screen project, the 1997 Hallmark Channel TV movie "To Dance with Olivia." He got his big break playing the title character on the FOX comedy series "Malcolm In The Middle," which aired between 2000 and 2006. In 2001, he earned an Emmy nomination for his role, losing to
Muniz largely retired from acting after the show ended. He worked as a professional race car driver for a while and appeared in the 2007 film "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" and other small projects. In September 2010, he said on his Twitter page, after a user called his acting skills "awful,": Yeah, but being retired with $40,000,000.00 at 19 has not been awful. Good luck moving out of your moms house before youre 35. (sic)"
About two weeks later, he Tweeted: "After 4 years of retirement from Hollywood... I think I'm gonna pull a Michael Jordan," referring to the NBA's most famous player who retired from professional basketball in 1993 but returned to the sport two years later. He retired again in 1999 and made a second comeback in 2001.
Earlier this year, Muniz guest starred on the ABC sitcoms "Last Man Standing" and "Don't Trust The B---- In Apt. 23" and continued to perform with his band.
In 2013, Muniz will appear in a TV movie called "Destruction: Las Vegas," which is set to air on the SyFy cable channel. Also that year, the actor plans to marry his fiancée, ABC News reported. He announced their engagement in October 2011.
Meanwhile, he is preparing for more shows with his band. A day before his announcement about his mini stroke, he promoted a concert set to take place on Sunday in Teaneck, NJ, near where he grew up.
(Pictured: Left: Frankie Muniz is pictured on what appears to be a hospital bed, as seen in this Instagram photo posted by his fiancée Elycia Marie Turnbow on Nov. 30, 2012. / Right: Frankie Muniz arrives at the premiere of "John Carter" in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. Credit: Elycia Marie Turnbow's Instagram / AP Photo / Matt Sayles)