Smith suffered from the coronary - known informally as 'the widow maker' - last February. At the time, he reported feeling nauseous while performing a stand-up routine, but said vomiting didn't help. "I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy," he added. "Turns out I had a massive heart attack.
"The Doctor who saved my life at the #glendale hospital told me I had 100 percent blockage of my LAD artery (also known as 'the Widow-Maker' because when it goes, you're a goner). If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight."
As a result of his near-death experience, Smith ditched animal products on the advice of his doctor, going on to experience a major physical transformation, losing more than 50lbs. He also experienced an ethical transformation, adopting a more compassionate outlook when it comes to animals.
Smith appeared in a a video for the Farm Sanctuary before Thanksgiving last year, with his ethical vegan daughter Quinn Smith, urging people to consider not eating turkey. "I've been a vegan for over six months and there's nothing I miss. You're always told it's OK to eat animals, and that we're supposed to eat animals. And that's just something you're fed. And for a long time, that’s what my generation believed," said Smith.
"Now we know a lot better...some stuff you just let go...we'll be [eating delicious food and spending time with family this Thanksgiving] but there'll be no carcass on the table...Change happens slow and you have to change the conversation...I will never eat another turkey. And I will go out of my way to see that others might not as well."
Smith took to Instagram to celebrate his vegan milestone, sharing an image of himself with actors Jason Lee and Jay Mewes, who he is currently directing in the reboot of cult film Jay And Silent Bob.
"One year ago today, I almost died," Smith wrote. "So today, I'm living it up on with Jay Mewes and Jason Lee on Day 1 of my new flick Jay and Silent Bob Reboot."
He went on to thank a number of people and organizations, as well as wife Jennifer Schwalbach and daughter Quinn for 'humoring my goofy bullshit one more time' and Jason Mewes for 'standing beside me all these years while I do the hardest thing I can personally ever do, either in film or in real life: simply shut the fuck up'.