Arnold Schwarzenegger has revealed that he almost died when doctors discovered internal bleeding during what was supposed to be a "non-invasive" surgery in 2018.

The 72-year-old actor opened up about his emergency operation in a commencement speech to 2020 graduates, and used the example of the recovery he made to start shooting Terminator: Dark Fate just four months later, as a metaphor for overcoming obstacles.

During the 12-minute online graduation speech, he said that doctors had originally intended to repair one of his heart valves but ended up having to do open-heart surgery because of complications.

"I woke up 16 hours later instead of four hours and there was a tube sticking out of my mouth," he said.

"Something went wrong during this non-invasive surgery and then it became invasive.

"They said that they broke through the heart wall and there was internal bleeding and I could have died if they didn't open up my sternum and do open-heart surgery."

He added: "The reason why I'm telling you all this is because no matter how successful you are, life will throw obstacles in your path, like it was with my heart surgery or your graduation now.

"But if you have a very clear vision like I talked about earlier, of exactly what you want to do and who you want to be, you can go and find a way around all of these obstacles."

The actor also told the graduates that the challenges they are facing because of the coronavirus pandemic will help them prepare for the future.

He said: "I can promise you this coronavirus won't be the last obstacle that you face. But it can help you prepare for the next one.

"That’s what life is all about, overcoming obstacles."

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