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Offered surgery to remove part of his bladder and nearby organs that harboured cancer cells, Savalas at first remained adamant that he did not want to go through what he father went through.
Kousakis remembered him saying: “His own father had had the surgery and it had been really awful. That was in 1947 or 1948… and his father had been very incapacitated, he had a bag, it was gross and uncomfortable and like having no life.”
But as his disease developed, Savalas had no choice but to undergo the procedure, known as radical cystectomy, in order to keep his cancer at bay. For a few years, the actor had cystoscopies every three or four months in order to check for new growths, and seemed to be stable, but by December 1993, things took a turn for the worst.
“The cancer had metastasized to his bones and other organs, but he was really only very sick for about six weeks,” said Kousakis.