Whoopi Goldberg Says She Was ‘Close To Leaving The Earth’ In First Statement Regarding Health On ‘The View’

Whoopi Goldberg is the moderator on ABC's The View.
Yolanda Perez / ABC

Whoopi Goldberg opened Friday’s episode of The View with a taped statement where she revealed she was “close to leaving the earth” after battling a serious illness since her abrupt departure from the series in February.

Fellow host Joy Behar, who has announced the status of Goldberg’s health at the beginning of each show since the onset of her illness, said she would let Whoopi tell everyone herself how she was feeling, as the show aired a pretaped segment.

“I am okay, I’m not dead,” quipped Goldberg, as quoted by Us Weekly.

“I had pneumonia in both lungs and was septic… I came very, very close to leaving this earth. Good news, I didn’t. Thank you for your good wishes. And all of the wonderful things that you have been saying. … And ladies, I cannot wait to see y’all. This has been interesting and I’ll tell you about it when we’re all at the table. See you soon.”

She signed off her taped statement with a kiss to The View‘s audience.

Goldberg has been absent from the show since February 6. Fellow panelist Joy Behar has subbed for the moderator, holding down the occasionally explosive commentary from fellow show co-stars Meghan McCain, Sunny Hostin, Ana Navarro, and Abby Huntsman.

Since her quick departure from the series, Behar has told viewers that the beloved show host is “on the mend” and that everyone hoped she would return soon. Goldberg is missed by fans and her fellow panelists on the series. She is an expert at wrangling the panelists’ heated discussions about politics, lifestyle, and human interest stories with good humor and when needed, a heavy hand.

Goldberg took over the reins on The View in 2007. She was named to the position by show creator Barbra Walters after Rosie O’Donnell’s abrupt departure from the series in May of the same year. She sat in as guest host for O’Donnell until she was officially named show moderator. O’Donnell abruptly left the show after a heated debate with conservative panelist Elisabeth Hasselbeck over the Bush administration and the Iraq War, reported ABC News.

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Goldberg publicly thanked Walters for taking a chance on hiring her to helm The View during an episode when the show creator appeared and guest-hosted. She appreciated Walters “taking a chance” on her and allowing her to contribute to the conversation the panelists had on a daily basis.

Today’s show was in honor of International Women’s Day, a topic that is dear to the panelists, who are all strong women in their own right. Hostin, McCain, Navarro, Behar, and Huntsman walked out to the song “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves,” sung by Annie Lennox and the late Aretha Franklin.

The View airs weekdays on ABC.