Olympian Bruce Furniss Home from Hospital, ‘Full of Energy’ after Heart Attack

Bruce Furniss

After nearly two weeks of worry about the condition of his friend, John Naber couldn’t help but send a joke Bruce Furniss’ way.

“I explained that due to possible memory loss, he might believe that he won the 200 freestyle in Montreal, and I was sad to remind him that he finished second,” Naber posted to Facebook Monday. “He laughed out loud.”

Furniss, the bona fide 1976 Olympic champion in the 200 free, was released from the hospital last Thursday, more than a week after suffering a severe heart attack. The 1987 inductee to the International Swimming Hall of Fame is home and in good spirits as he continues to recuperate.

Furniss was rushed to the hospital in his native California March 30 following a severe heart attack. Updates provided by his family detailed that he’d recovered more quickly than expected. Save for a brief setback after a surgical procedure that landed him in ICU last week, he has steadily progressed.

Since his release, he’s been visited by family and been able to check in with friends via phone. Craig Furniss posted on Sunday:

“I want to thank each of you for your support, kind words and prayers. It has meant so much to me, Bruce, Sharon [Bruce’s wife] and our entire family. In the coming days, Bruce and/or Sharon will likely make a post so stay tuned. For now, we are all encouraging Bruce and Sharon to only rest, reflect, enjoy each other and their family and nothing more. They need to ease slowly back into things. In a strange way, the shelter-in-place may help them with that.”


Family members welcome Bruce Furniss home from the hospital. Photo Courtesy: Furniss Family

Furniss, 62, won two golds and set two world records at the 1976 Olympics, teaming with Naber, Jim Montgomery and Mike Bruner in the 800 free relay. He won four medals (two relay gold, two individual silver) at the 1975 World Championships, set 10 world records and won six NCAA championships, part of an outstanding aquatic family (with brothers Steve, Craig and Chip).

Naber and Bruce Furniss were teammates at USC, a bond that has endured for nearly five decades.

“I spoke with Bruce on the telephone today,” Naber wrote Monday. “He sounded great: full of energy, good humor, great memory and intelligent observations. He knows how close it was, and how far he still has to go, but his spirits are high and he still has his unquestionable love of life! He sends his love to you all!

“Bruce wants to thank all of us who shared this journey with him, and all who helped Sharon and the kids during this difficult time. He is already making plans for a June driving vacation, and hopes that the next card tournament will see his name added to the winners list.”

Through the Caring Bridge page, Craig expressed his gratitude on behalf of the family and urged everyone to pay the kind of kindness shown toward Bruce forward to others during the coronavirus pandemic:

“I hope you will join me in seeking out someone during this time who might feel alone and give them a call or email to let them know they are not. You are all that kind of people so you probably are doing this naturally, but purposeful intention by a large group is a powerful force. It is the kind of thing that we as a world need to beat the effects of the virus. We are stronger together.”

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3 years ago

Excellent news ??