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Krayzie Bone Talks Near-Death Experience In First Interview

ICU docs told the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony rapper’s family that he’s fortunate to be alive
Krayzie Bone
Krayzie Bone (Credit: The Life Apparel)

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s Krayzie Bone is lucky to be alive. On Sept. 25, the artist born Anthony Henderson checked himself into Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center emergency room in Los Angeles after he coughed up copious amounts of blood. Krayzie, who’d been diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis (a rare chronic disease caused by inflammation) in 2016, was planning on being home within a few hours. 

After all, in 2018, Krayzie experienced something similar, but it cleared up quickly and he went home a day later. Knowing that, he didn’t want to panic and figured he’d wait until the morning to see if it cleared up. This time was far more serious. He woke up 10 days later. 

With his life hanging in the balance, the 50-year-old Cleveland native had been placed in a medically induced coma after an artery burst inside his left lung, leading to a persistent bleed. Surgeons attempted to fix the hole but were unsuccessful. After three days, doctors prepared his family for the worst. Social media blew up with death rumors while fans and peers like Ice-T and Chuck D prayed for his recovery, something he truly appreciated once he woke up. 

Of course, Krayzie was unaware of what was happening. On the fourth day of his hospitalization, the fix finally worked and, despite the long odds, he was eventually discharged — albeit 25 pounds lighter. Since then, he’s been hitting the gym and upping his protein intake. Even better, he’s also gearing up for his first post-hospitalization performance with Bone Thugs on Dec. 16.

Layzie Bone

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In his first interview since leaving the hospital, Krayzie tells SPIN over the phone about the day he was admitted and how the whole experience changed him. 

Krayzie Bone
Krayzie Bone (photo: The Life Apparel)

SPIN: What happened on the day that you went into the hospital?

Krayzie Bone: That weekend, my cough had increased a lot. I didn’t pay any attention to it. I thought it was going to come and go. I was in Sacramento for the weekend and when I went back home, the cough just persisted. I was up late playing Xbox one night and I coughed and something came up that didn’t feel like the usual phlegm. When I spit it out, it was nothing but blood. When I woke up the next day, it cleared up, so I thought it was cool. But I coughed again and blood came up again, and it was coming up more and more. My wife told me I needed to go to the hospital. I went to the emergency room and they gave me little bags that I was coughing the blood up in. By the time they came to take me to a room, I had used three of those bags. 

Were you worried? 

No, I was just wondering what it was. When they came and put me in a [hospital] room, they were saying they had to put me under to see what was going on. We had a show that weekend in Las Vegas, so I texted my people and told them, “Yo, just letting y’all know I was coughing up blood and they gotta put me under to see what the problem is. I’m just letting y’all know just in case I don’t make the show this weekend.” After that, I woke up 10 days later.

So you’re thinking you’re going to be out of the hospital in a few hours, but it turned into something completely different, and you’re put in a medically induced coma. Were you aware there were death rumors? 

I heard that a few times myself. It was supposed to be a standard procedure where they would go in and stop the bleeding. An artery in my lung had ruptured and that is what was causing the bleeding. When I went under, they shut the hole up. But after a day, they said the bleeding wouldn’t stop. After the second day, the bleeding wouldn’t stop and the doctor started to panic. That’s when they told my wife they might want to get the family down here. They had to put a balloon in my lungs and blow it up. They kept it in there for two days. On the third day, they said they didn’t know if I was going to make it out of there. On the fourth day, my wife said the doctor came into the waiting room and told her the bleeding had stopped and gave her the thumbs up. After the fourth day of the bleeding, they had to keep me sedated to keep me still. I stayed six more days in incubation. When I woke up, they told me everything that happened. I had no idea I’d been there for 10 days. 

It was crazy. The medication they used to keep me down was Fentanyl, Ketamine, Propofol and one other one that I don’t remember. The doctor was tripping because he was like, “we’ve never had to give a patient all four at the same time, but you would not stay down.” My tolerance is very high. One doctor was like, ‘I’m very impressed. This is very impressive. I’ve never seen anybody like this” [laughs.]

What were you thinking at that moment? 

It was crazy. I knew it was crazy because I woke up and my brother and my father from Cleveland were there. I was like, “What the hell is they doing here?” All my kids was there. Layzie [Bone], Flesh [Bone] and Wish [Bone] were there at the hospital every day, so when I woke up I was like, “Damn, why is everybody so uptight? What the hell is going on?”

Krayzie Bone
Krayzie Bone performs in Ontario, Ca in 2022 (photo: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images)

Were you aware of just how dire your situation was? 

I didn’t even know how serious it was until I woke up. They informed me of everything that was going on. The doctors in the ICU, I don’t know if it’s what they see every day, but their outlook was grim. They were like, “He might not make it out of here. The lung function on the left side is completely dead. He will need a lung transplant.” This is everything they’re telling my family when I’m in the process of waking up. When I wake up, everybody’s looking grim. They tell me this and I’m like, “OK.” They were gearing me up for a lung transplant, so they sent me right over to the Ronald Reagan Center because my primary doctor, when she heard them talking about a transplant, she was like, “Wait, let’s slow down here. This is my patient. I just had a visit with him and he just had one of the best breathing tests. We need to slow this down. I don’t think he needs a lung transplant.” That’s why I was in the hospital for so long. They were doing a whole evaluation. 

They weren’t going to let you go unless they were sure you were going to be alright. 

Yeah. So they did all kinds of tests and said, “Well, we don’t think you qualify for a lung transplant because you still have a substantial amount of blood pumping through the bad part of your lungs and your lungs are still functioning.” They were then thinking about doing a resection where they cut out the bad part of the lung. They came back again and said, “After looking at your lungs further, we feel like we shouldn’t even do that. We hear you work out four to five times a week and do shows on the weekends. That’s not the sign of a person who needs a lung transplant or for us to go in and tamper with anything. We could mess up the quality of life you have now.” So they put me on this medication to prevent what happened from happening again. 

So that’s the after-care? Are you on this medication forever? 

Yes. They’re monitoring it. I have these holes in my lungs called mycetoma

Is that part of the sarcoidosis condition you were diagnosed with in 2016? 

The sarcoidosis they said has been in remission for a while, but the damage it did to my lungs is irreversible. Now, I just have to watch my lungs. 

Are there any concerns about you doing shows? 

They don’t want me traveling for the rest of the year, but they were really happy to hear I was back in the gym and doing physical therapy with a personal trainer. I lost like 25 pounds in the hospital. 

What was the biggest takeaway from this near-death experience? 

Man, the main one is to never take life for granted. As I said, I went to the emergency room just expecting to have a quick checkup, fix whatever the problem was and go home. It ended up I didn’t leave until 10 days later and the condition I went home in was crazy. Just seeing how fast everything could change is definitely eye-opening. I don’t take anything for granted. Cherish all the loved ones you have.