Jerry Lewis is hospitalized for steroids. The comedian is trying to wean himself from the drug which has bloated his body

By Liane Bonin
Updated November 13, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST
Jerry Lewis: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/Newscom

Jerry Lewis doesn’t have much to laugh about these days. The veteran comedian, 77, has been hospitalized in an undisclosed Las Vegas hospital. Lewis, who has suffered from the serious lung disease pulmonary fibrosis for years, is attempting to wean himself from the steroid medication he is taking to treat the illness, prednisone. The anti-inflammatory drug has been responsible for his considerable weight gain over the last several years.

Lewis, who has also had prostate cancer and open heart surgery in the past, was reportedly checked into the hospital so that he might strengthen his lungs. While most pulmonary fibrosis patients require treatment throughout their lives, there are a number of drugs that can be used to treat the disease. Oxygen administration, and in rare cases, lung transplant are also options.

There is no word on when Lewis will be released. But Lewis, who hosted the 2003 Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon this fall despite his condition, isn’t likely to slow down. ”I would say in a few months he’s going to be active again in the business,” his agent Jeff Witjas told the Associated Press. ”He’s slimming down to a normal weight.” All the better to keep up with the pretty laaaaadies.