Rumours that Ryan Seacrest had suffered a stroke on live TV last Sunday began circulating on social media after his speech was slurred and his right eye appeared swollen and nearly closed while hosting the American Idol Season 18 finale.
Following a performance from the show’s final 11 contestants and British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo, the virtual broadcast cut back to Seacrest, 45, who began fumbling over his words and pausing in-between sentences.
“Cynthia Erivo and the Top 11 right there. You can catch her playing Aretha Franklin on the National Geographic limited series, Genius: Aretha, premiering this fall,” he said while stumbling.
Additionally, Seacrest was absent from his daily duties as co-host to Kelly Ripa on ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan the following morning.
98% sure ryan seacrest had a stroke on live TV last night. he’s not on live with kelly this morning, either, which is…concerning pic.twitter.com/3j9R2bMbfm
— kim windyka (@kimlw) May 18, 2020
Seacrest, however, assured fans that he did not have a stroke while on-air last Sunday, but rather he was “adjusting” to “finding work-home balance” during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a statement provided to People by one of his representatives.
“Ryan did not have any kind of stroke last night,” the representative wrote. “Like many people right now, Ryan is adjusting to the new normal and finding work-home balance, with the added stress of having to put on live shows from home.”
On top of American Idol and Live with Kelly and Ryan, Seacrest hosts the much-beloved On Air with Ryan Seacrest radio show and Disney’s Family Singalong specials.
The statement addressing the TV personality concluded: “He has been juggling three to four on-air jobs over the last few weeks and he’s in need of rest. Today, he took a well-deserved day off.”
Seacrest returned to host Live with Kelly and Ryan on Tuesday. He thanked Ripa’s longtime husband, Mark Consuelos, for filling in for him, while also addressing the controversy surrounding his own absence and questionable moment on American Idol.
“I want to thank Mark for filling in yesterday. I appreciate that,” said Seacrest. “Also, the very kind well-wishes for my exhaustion. working round-the-clock, so I got a day off to relax,” he added with a smile.
Before Seacrest’s assurance that he did not have a stroke, many were concerned about the celebrity’s well-being, with some even suggesting that he go see a doctor.
A nurse tweeted: “Ryan Seacrest did something awkward with his left arm, the left side of his face looked paralyzed, and his speech was slurred. I pray he’s okay.”
Here’s what some other Twitter users had to say:
— M. Drake Krueger (@KingDraqula) May 18, 2020
As someone who has watched American Idol for just about the last 15-20 years, watching Ryan Seacrest in this shape really hurt my heart. I’m not sure what he is going through, but I sure hope he gets well soon.
— Online Idol 🌐 (@online_idol) May 18, 2020
What happened to @RyanSeacrest on American Idol live? Looks like a stroke or Bell’s Palsy. https://t.co/Et4QS0i0c2 Heard from a source close to the studio they demanded 2nd round flu shots due to COVID. He was also hesitant getting flu shot on air in Oct. https://t.co/IJcVfgEzWK pic.twitter.com/BFWy805OF7
— Dr. Shannon Kroner (@drshannonkroner) May 19, 2020
Some other people, however, suggested that some fans were overreacting to Seacrest’s “exhaustion.”
Here is the thing, @RyanSeacrest you don't know if you did or didn't have a #TransientIschemicAttack because you are not a doctor. I am not one either. However, people are putting off seeking needed critical medical attention because of the quarantine. Strokes are serious.
— William Li (@OldFatherWm) May 19, 2020
As someone who actually did have a stroke while live on air I think all of this chaos surrounding @RyanSeacrest is excessive. Even if he did (which his rep said he didn’t) we should give him a minute to breath and process what happened. No one ever owes anyone a medical diagnosis
— Alabama (@alabamaradio) May 19, 2020
“Eye twitches can be caused by stress and we should all know that delays are happening because technology isn’t perfect when it comes to video, lighting, computers and audio,” tweeted another.
“Now we can all chill,” they added, suggesting it was merely a technical issue.
For information regarding signs of a stroke or treatments and how to react when someone is experiencing one, you can visit Canada’s official Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website.
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