Doctors told Johnny Ruffo he would've 'died in his sleep' if it wasn't for his girlfriend's quick thinking.

In the first week of August, singer and actor Johnny Ruffo was suffering from an excruciating migraine.

It wasn’t something he hadn’t felt before – the 29-year-old said he had been experiencing headaches “for years” – but when he began to slur his sentences and “jumble up his words”, his longterm girlfriend Tahnee Sims rushed him to the emergency room.

Almost two months after discovering he had a 7cm brain tumour, the entertainer sat down with The Project’s Carrie Bickmore – who started Beanies 4 Brain Cancerfor an exclusive interview.

During the chat, Johnny said he was told by doctors that he probably would have died had it not been for the quick-thinking of Tahnee.

“The surgeon said if I hadn’t gone to the hospital that night, I would have died in my sleep that night,” he said.


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“It’s just sheer luck that I went in when I did otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”

Tahnee also faced the extremely difficult task of signing the consent form that allowed doctors to remove Johnny’s tumour.


After waiting with him for eight hours in the emergency waiting room, Tahnee was told to go home and return the next day. But when Johnny slipped into a coma at 6am the next day, further testing showed he needed emergency surgery.

Some things in life really put things into persepective, hoping for a positive result, keep me in your thoughts x

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“I’ve got no family here, she’s the only person I have here so she had to sign off to do the operation,” he said.

“The surgeon said to her there was a one in 20 chance I would die from the operation. She was quite torn up about it.”

Johnny shared that a history of headaches – which he put down to nights out drinking and years playing sport and “copping a million and one knocks in the head” – wasn’t the only sign something was wrong.

He also noticed that he was feeling more depressed than usual.


“Initially I thought maybe I was a bit depressed. I’d even gone to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘You know, all the symptoms seem like it’s depression,” he told Carrie.

“After having found the tumour, the neurosurgeon said, ‘No, no, it’s not depression at all’.

“‘It was because there was so much pressure being put on your brain that it was causing all these different symptoms’.”

Despite the shock diagnosis – Johnny’s type of tumour affects just three per cent of patients, and could have been growing for anywhere between two years to ten years – his prognosis is positive.

johnny ruffo cancer The Project
Johnny said his prognosis is positive. Image via Channel 10.

"The type of tumour that it is and the strand that it is reacts best to radiotherapy and chemotherapy," Johnny said.

"Fingers crossed by the end of 6 months of chemo that I'm in the clear and I can get on with normal life again."

Despite his positive outlook, the 2011 X-Factor finalist said the news hadn't "hit home" just yet but it had given him a new perspective on life.

"You have an epiphany about life, almost and you just appreciate it a little bit more," he said.

"Looking back I wasted a lot of time just doing things... I had a lot of fun, but now I feel like I really want to focus on my work and my career and things that make me happy.

"It could have quite easily been over for me that night. It’s almost like having a second chance and you appreciate things a lot more."

Watch Carrie's full interview with Johnny below: