DWTS Alum’s Mystery Illness Has Doctors Baffled

Mary Lou Retton Baffled

Heavy Mary Lou Retton's illness has doctors baffled.

The medical team for a “Dancing with the Stars” alum is at a loss to explain the serious illness that almost took her life. Season 27 DWTS contestant Mary Lou Retton opened up about her illness and difficult recovery, and she admitted she and her doctors are still struggling to understand what happened.

Here’s what you need to know:

Mary Lou Retton Revealed Doctors ‘Still Don’t Know’ What Caused Her Illness

On May 22, ET Online shared an interview with Retton. She talked about her October 2023 hospitalization and revealed people on her medical team “still don’t know” exactly what caused the issues that nearly killed her.

Retton, 56, wears oxygen throughout her day-to-day life now. “It’s been hard, I have to say,” the “Dancing with the Stars” alum admitted.

“Give me a hip to rehab, give me a shoulder. The lungs are a different beast,” the Olympic gymnastics champion noted.

The “Dancing with the Stars” alum noted she had a “bit of a relapse” with her health not too long ago. “It’s more discouragement than anything. Patience isn’t one of my strong skill sets,” Retton acknowledged.

During the interview, x-ray images of Retton’s lungs were shown. “My lungs are pretty scarred up, and they’re gonna stay that way forever.”

Ever since Retton’s daughters began sharing her story, her illness has been referred to as a “rare form of pneumonia.” She explained that the description is still the best the doctors have come up with.

Retton noted doctors tested her for all types of things, but nothing viral, bacterial, or fungal was discovered. She hates the oxygen tube but shared that she expects it will be at least another year before she can be rid of it.

The DWTS Alum’s Daughters Gathered to Say Goodbye

When Retton’s illness was at its worst, her four daughters came together at the hospital to say their goodbyes. They prayed over her, and the “Dancing with the Stars” alum was able to improve enough to avoid being put on a ventilator.

She noted that it’s hard for patients to come off a ventilator once they are on it. “I’m not really a depressed person, but this experience really changed me [mentally],” Retton admitted. “I’ve been struggling with that.”

Despite her struggles, both with her physical and mental health, Retton insisted she was “not ready” to give up. “I have so much to look forward to,” the gymnastics champion shared.

During the interview with ET Online, Retton shared that one of her four daughters gets married in the fall. In addition, another daughter will have her first baby, a girl they plan to name Penelope, over the summer.

Retton revealed she doesn’t want to be called “Mimi,” “Grammy,” or “Grandma.” The soon-to-be first-time grandma decided, instead, that her granddaughter would call her “Lou Lou.”

ET Online surprised Retton with a short video from her “Dancing with the Stars” partner, Sasha Farber.

“There is nothing that you cannot do, or be,” Farber told Retton. He continued, “So, just remember that. You are Mary Lou Retton.”

After the short video was played for her, Retton gushed, “Oh, I love him.” She added, “He would tell me that every day” as she fought for her life.