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Schwarzenegger Has Elective Heart Surgery

April 17, 1997|MILES CORWIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of Hollywood's biggest and highest-paid stars, had elective heart surgery Wednesday to replace an aortic valve, his spokeswoman said.

Schwarzenegger, 49, star of the "Terminator" movies, is expected to make a full recovery and will not be required to take any heart medication after the surgery, said spokeswoman Catherine Olim.

Schwarzenegger, who won the Mr. Universe contest five times and retired undefeated as Mr. Olympia after seven victories, has acknowledged using steroids when he was a bodybuilder.

But Olim said, "Steroids have nothing to do with this. . . . This is a congenital condition that's existed in his family. We expect a very short recovery period."

Olim would not disclose the hospital where Schwarzenegger had the operation and would only confirm that it was in Los Angeles.

The surgery, Olim said, will not interrupt Schwarzenegger's plans at the end of May to promote his movie "Batman and Robin."

Schwarzenegger said in a statement: "I've never felt sick or had any symptoms at all, but I knew I'd have to take care of this condition sooner or later. I said to the doctors, 'Let's do it now, while I'm young and healthy.' They agreed this was the way to go."

Schwarzenegger was born in Austria and came to the United States in 1968. His career as an action hero was launched with the 1982 movie "Conan the Barbarian." He became a box office star after the 1984 movie "Terminator."

Schwarzenegger has been married to television journalist Maria Shriver since 1986. The couple have three children and are expecting a fourth.

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