Ty Pennington Shares Health Update After Being Airlifted to ICU

Ty Pennington

Heavy/HGTV/YouTube HGTV's Ty Pennington

Eight months after undergoing life-saving emergency surgery, longtime HGTV star Pennington is treasuring each day. In an interview with “Entertainment Tonight” (ET) that aired on March 4, 2024, the “Rock the Block” host, 59, shared new details about his intense health scare and how it has impacted his outlook on life.

In July 2023, Pennington revealed on social media that he’d been airlifted from Breckenridge, Colorado — where he was set to begin filming “Battle on the Mountain” — to the ICU at a Denver hospital due to a throat abscess that was blocking his airway.

“You know what’s great is if you almost die, you get so much attention,” he joked to ET. “It feels so nice to be that loved. I’m planning another one… No, I’m kidding!”

Here’s what you need to know:

Ty Pennington Says He Initially Drove Himself to a Hospital When He Was Struggling to Breathe

After dealing with a sore throat for a month, Pennington woke up during his first night in Breckenridge on July 11 struggling to breathe, he shared via Instagram after the ordeal.

In his new interview, Pennington said that he drove himself down the mountain “to the hospital at, like, four in the morning.”

Recalling the shocking conversation he had with the doctor there, Pennington told ET, “I’m like, ‘Hey, can you give me a steroid to like, help shrink the swelling?’ He goes, ‘Well, what if it’s more than that? What if you close up and can’t breathe?’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God!”

“He goes, ‘Yeah, I think we need to fly you to Denver,'” Pennington recalled. “It was very dramatic. I woke up and I had a tube in my throat.”

According to Harvard Medical School, an abscess in the throat — known as a “peritonsillar abscess” — is typically a complication of tonsillitis, caused by “strep throat” bacteria. Without treatment, the infection can spread to a person’s neck, roof of the mouth and lungs, and in severe cases, “the swelling can make breathing difficult or can close your airway.”

While Alison Victoria and Taniya Nayak filmed the first episode of “Battle on the Mountain” without him, Pennington underwent emergency surgery on July 12 at St. Anthony’s Hospital, which bills itself as a “full-service, acute care hospital designated as a Level I Trauma Center” and the “primary receiving center for the region’s most seriously ill and injured patients.”

In his July post, Pennington thanked the “amazing staff” in the ICU who took “such great care” of him throughout the week.

Ty Pennington Says Health Scare Gave Him a Fresh Perspective on the Fragility of Life

Surviving his medical crisis has left Pennington feeling even more grateful for each day, he told ET, especially as he approaches his 60th birthday in October.

“It made me realize you just don’t know when your timecard’s gonna get pulled, so wake up, live every single day to the fullest,” he said. “I mean that’s why the 60s is gonna be like time to start doing everything.

“That’s what I love about being part of these projects,” he added, pointing to the HGTV shows he hosts and home designs he oversees, “because I think we all want to make sure we’ve done things to be remembered.”

On February 21, while in North Carolina to film the next season of “Battle on the Beach,” Pennington posted an Instagram photo of himself laughing with his co-star Nayak and wrote, “Not to be cheesy but feeling super grateful for this life 🙌🏼 It’s been 24 years of working in TV and I’m so lucky to do it alongside friends that feel like family! “Hashtag blessed”… but really tho 🙏🏼🤍