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Fox News host Tucker Carlson underwent emergency back surgery on Wednesday morning in Florida, and was back on the air for his 8 p.m. show.
Page Six reported that Carlson’s senior executive producer Justin Wells drove him to the hospital on Tuesday night after his election night show, and that the highly-rated host is believed to have suffered from serious back pain for several weeks.
Vice’s Motherboard reported, “Something happened to Tucker Carlson Monday morning that caused him to get emergency back surgery later in the week.” Vice also obtained audio of Carlson reportedly talking to his production crew about how it was “one of the most traumatic things that’s ever happened to me in my whole life, ever.”
He spoke in detail on set to his production team about what he experienced, and said that because he was treated with intravenous fentanyl and other powerful painkillers, he now understands America’s opioid crisis in a deeper way.
“They hit me up, they told me this morning, with such a huge dose of dilaudid, which is more powerful than morphine, when I got there, that I had trouble breathing,” Carlson said on the recording, obtained by Vice. “Scared the shit out of me. Didn’t have any effect at all. And then all night, I lay there, the nurse finally upped my dosage of dilaudid to the point where every eight minutes I hit it and it was like getting shot. Just like bam, feel it hit me, and it didn’t touch the pain.”
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed the surgery to Vice, “Tucker Carlson had emergency back surgery yesterday and did the show anyway. He thanks all those who tuned in and watched closely.”
That Wednesday 8 p.m. broadcast drew nearly 4 million viewers, No. 1 on cable news and just so happens to be the show’s largest non-election night audience in months.