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Orlando Bloom is reflecting on a dangerous fall that resulted in his spine being crushed, more than 20 years after it happened.
The Prince voice actor and Carnival Row star shared several photos of him riding bikes at various points in his life on his Instagram on Friday. In the first photo, which is from 1998, Bloom can be seen wearing a back brace while smiling over his shoulder at the camera.
“That’s me in my back brace circa 1998 about 3 months after I fell 3 floors and crushed my spine, narrowly escaping death and paralysis,” the actor captioned the image. “Grateful every day for my limbs that allow me to push my limits and live life on my edge (safer now).”
The actor previously spoke about his serious injury in a GQ profile from 2005, telling the magazine that the fall had “informed everything in my life.”
“Until you’re close to losing it, you don’t realize. I used to ride motorbikes and drive cars like everything was a racetrack; it was ridiculous. It wasn’t because I thought it was cool; it was just because I loved living on the edge. But I’ve chilled.”
Bloom’s near-fatal injury was the result of an attempt to get onto a roof terrace by leaping onto a drainpipe that gave away. The actor, who fell three stories, shattered his vertebrae, with the doctor at the time telling him “he wasn’t sure how severe the spinal cord damage was.”
“Until then, I didn’t have a healthy appreciation for life and death — that we’re not invincible,” he says. “I went to some dark places in my mind. I realized, I’m either going to walk again or I’m not.”
Bloom spent a few weeks in the hospital before walking out on his own with titanium pins in his spine. Despite his injury, and as evidenced by his Instagram photo, the actor went right back to riding. But that choice had its own consequences when Bloom returned to the hospital to have the pins removed. The doctor found them all fractured and coming out in shards with one pin driven too deep to remove.
“I’d been doing stuff right away,” he recalled. “I went straight back into it, man.”
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