Twenty-seven years after suffering a heart attack he didn’t know was a heart attack, CNN exile Aaron Brown will undergo triple-bypass surgery today in Phoenix.
“Some part of me has known for a long time that at some point, the piper that is heart disease is going to get paid,” says Brown, 62, the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism at Arizona State. “This has been 27 years in the making.”
One night in 1984, when he was an anchor at Seattle’s KING, Brown didn’t realize that the pain he was experiencing was a heart attack. He did the late news, anyway, then was rushed to the hospital.
A week ago, after a routine stress test led to an immediate angiogram, Brown’s cardiologist told him he needed a bypass – stat.
While accepting his fate, Brown says he’s angry, too. He is a planner, and heart surgery was not in his plans. The situation is beyond his control. For Brown, that is a frightening place.
“If you’re a control freak, it’s hard to let go,” says Brown, forced out of CNN in 2005. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d be a 12. I’ve never faced anything quite like this. I find myself fighting to get control of it, but I know it’s not healthy for me. I’m trying so hard to let go.
“It sounds crazy, but I don’t recall ever having let go. In my childhood, I had to stay focused and in control, because so many people doubted me. I grew up in a little town [Hopkins,