The Academy Award winner announced his lymphoma diagnosis to his fans. However, before vaccines were available, Jeff tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after learning that his treatment was working.

“The chemo wipes off your immune system, and when COVID attacked me, I had nothing to fight it,” Jeff told exclusively to E! News. “I was so near to fainting out a few times there,” she says.

After a health scare that landed him in the hospital for more than four months, the 72-year-old wondered if he’d ever get the chance to work on the big or small screen again. He was also concerned that he wouldn’t be able to walk his 36-year-old daughter Haley down the aisle.

“Jeff, you’ve got to fight,” the doctors told him, and he remembered. “I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about. I realized I was in surrender mode. My family, a great medical staff, and outstanding trainers all collaborated to bring me back.”

Even though he is back at work filming the FX drama The Old Man, Jeff is grateful for his family, which includes his longtime wife, Susan Geston. The couple has been married since 1977, and their love story intensified as Jeff fought for his life. The Crazy Heart actor refers to his wife as “the love of my life” without hesitation.

“How fortunate we are.” It’s close by and easily accessible,” Jeff explained. “I’m paying attention to the things right in front of me, like love, my family, and everything else at my disposal. I love this basic reality we all take for granted and live with daily.”

Jeff, who has three kids and three grandchildren, is committed to staying healthy and spreading the word about his battle while still in remission.

“While the option to raise my antibodies to protect me from COVID-19 wasn’t available while I was going through cancer treatment, it is now,” Jeff said after speaking with medical authorities.

“My antibodies quickly grew. I now feel more confident in returning to my favorite pastimes.”

Even though his battle with cancer and COVID-19 was difficult, to say the least, Jeff is attempting to find the positive in what can only be described as a terrible circumstance.

He noted that we usually overlook things in front of us. “But, as it turned out, that experience significantly impacted my life.”