NewsHillsborough County


'The Biggest Loser' star Bob Harper recalls heart attack, meets survivors in Tampa

Harper is promoting "Survivors Have Heart"
Posted at 10:04 PM, Jun 05, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — Fitness expert and best-selling author Bob Harper stopped in Tampa on Wednesday to meet with heart attack survivors.

In February 2017, Harper had a near-fatal heart attack after going into cardiac arrest. A doctor happened to be at the gym when he collapsed.

Harper had to be shocked three times by an automated external defibrillator (AED).

"He came down thinking he was going to find someone in the gym that had like hit their head maybe or twisted their ankle. He said he saw Bob Harper laying on the ground and I had already turned blue. He said he became so persistence because he couldn’t get the AEDS to work on me cause I had already flat-lined. If it wasn’t for his persistence, I wouldn't be here," said Harper.

Harper has partnered with AstraZeneca to celebrate survivorship and provide support for survivors and their loved ones.

AstraZeneca created Survivors Have Heart. The initiative will build awareness and interest in heart disease.

"You're rebuilding your life again and that's what we're trying to do with the people we come in contact with... their stories help that person who had a heart attack today that's afraid. It's scary when your heart just stops," said Harper.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY NEWS | The latest headlines from Hillsborough County

Only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help they need before professional help arrives, according to the American Heart Association.


Common heart attack signs and symptoms according to the Mayor Clinic include:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness


Harper said he feels fortunate for the people who jumped into action.

"If it wasn’t for the people that were so quick to act, I would not being sitting here with you right now," he said.

Harper is focused on helping other survivors find the support and encouragement they need.

"Your life gets taken away really quickly and you come back for a second chance, you're going to take that second chance and run with it," said Harper.

Those interested in learning more about Bob Harper's initiative can click here for more information.