Rob Ruha suffered heart attack after ignoring symptoms, urges people to get checked out

Silver Scroll award winner Rob Ruha has revealed he had a heart attack two weeks ago after ignoring the early signs.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, the '35' singer wrote he was "grateful to be alive" after being hospitalised over the weekend.

"On Saturday after Koroneihana practice, I felt a mamae I had kinda felt before... but it was never this hundy! As I drove to where the whānau were meeting for kai after practice, it felt like the worst indigestion pain ever," Ruha said.

"We parked up, walked across the road, got a kai and it went away after I ate... but it was pretty hundy when I had it - so I clocked that. I did the performance with my iwi that day, felt fine and thought nothing of it.

"Little did I know, I had just had a heart attack."

Ruha also said he experienced discomfort the following day but brushed it off.

"The next day I had a similar sensation in my neck, like food sitting there after eating too fast. Nowhere NEAR as intense as the first time, just a little uncomfortable. This continued regularly every two days but it was relieved with kai or heartburn medicine. This was not normal."

He also said while he underwent tests, they came back normal, and one week later he felt great.

"That night, my wife got the call to urgently get me to hospital – the other test was back and indicated that I had a heart attack and now have to undergo more tests to confirm."

Ruha said he was taken to cardiology in Tauranga having been seen initially at Whakatāne.

Doctors there confirmed "it was definitely a heart attack and one of my main arteries was blocked".

Following an operation, he has had two "stents into the artery, returning the flow to 100 percent as it was only at 10 percent, while a team of tohunga and whānau turn the ear of my Atua. All of these things combined saved my life."

Ruha concluded his post by saying he was "grateful to be home with my tamariki and whānau", but that he regrets not acting earlier on the symptoms.

"I share this with you all in the hope that you listen to your tinana when you need to and take the brave steps needed to make things right.

"I share this with you because there is so much stigma and whakamā (shame) associated with heart disease that stops our people reaching out before it is too late.

"I share this to encourage our whānau and health practitioners to end their own contributions to that shame and stigma... or we will lose more loved whānau members to the 'shamo's' narratives YOU helped build. We shouldn't need to be brave to reach out for help!"

Ruha also urged everyone to get themselves checked out if they felt anything was different, rather than following what they may have seen on TV shows.

"I share this to express that everyone's tinana is of unique whakapapa and presents this mate in different ways - I never once believed what I experienced was a heart attack because that's not the picture I had in my mind of what it might be like.

"That is not what the pictures and media conditioned me to think it was."

He also thanked everyone who "helped save my life" before revealing he would be taking time away from his projects and commitments to recover.