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‘Avengers’ star Mark Ruffalo reflects on brain tumor diagnosis over 2 decades later

***Related video above: Know the symptoms of a brain tumor.***

(WJW) – More than two decades after having a brain tumor removed from behind his ear, “Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo still deals with hearing loss and vividly remembers the dream that led to his diagnosis.

The 56-year-old actor reflected on his medical procedure during this week’s episode of the “SmartLess” podcast, which is hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes.

Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk in “Avengers,” said he was shaken up by an intense dream he had after the success of “You Can Count on Me,” while his wife, Sunrise Coigney, was nine months pregnant with their first child.

“It wasn’t like any other dream I’ve ever had. It was just like, ‘You have a brain tumor.’ It wasn’t even a voice, it was just pure knowledge,” Ruffalo said. “‘You have a brain tumor and you have to deal with it immediately.’”

Ruffalo, who was 33 at the time, visited a doctor the next day and a CT scan revealed he had a mass “the size of a golf ball” behind his left ear.

According to reports from People and other news outlets, Ruffalo was diagnosed with benign vestibular schwannoma in 2001.

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo attends The 2024 BAFTA Tea Party at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on January 13, 2024, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)

During the podcast, Ruffalo said he waited days to tell his wife about the diagnosis.

“I didn’t tell Sunny because she had the birth plan, she had the yoga, she had the doula … This is like her wedding,” Ruffalo said. “I just couldn’t.”

Ruffalo told her the night before meeting with a neurologist, about a week after their son was born.

“First, she thought I was joking and then she just bursts into tears and said, ‘I always knew you were going to die young,’” he said.

Ruffalo said the tumor was removed, at first leaving him completely deaf in one ear and paralyzed on the left side of his face.

“I couldn’t even close my eye, I was talking out of the side of my mouth,” Ruffalo said. “I had a 20% chance of nicking the nerve in my left side, killing it, and then I had a 70% chance of losing my hearing, which went.”

Thankfully, the paralysis eventually went away, but Ruffalo says he still suffers from hearing loss and has the scars to show for the experience.

Ruffalo was recently nominated for an Oscar for his performance in “Poor Things.”

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