By Justine Browning
May 08, 2019 at 01:47 PM EDT
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Howard Stern is detailing his frightening health ordeal and biggest interview regret in a revealing new sitdown.

The radio host spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and shared the story of his 2017 cancer scare. At the time, Stern took a personal day – leading many listeners to express concern and speculate as to the reason for his absence.

Now the 65-year-old is admitting he went off the air to have surgery so that a growth on his kidney, which was found to have a 90 percent chance of becoming cancerous, could be checked.

“And now all I’m thinking is, ‘I’m going to die,’” he said of his state during the procedure. “And I’m scared sh—less.”

Fortunately, the abnormality turned out to be nothing more than a cyst.

The star also opened up about his regret over an interview he did with Robin Williams in the early ’90s, which he wishes he’d taken more seriously.

“I loved Robin Williams, but there I am beating him over the head with like, ‘Hey, I hear you’re f—ing your nanny?’” Stern tells the publication. “I could have had a great conversation, but I’m playing to the audience.”

“They want to hear outrageousness, and that’s my arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience,” he adds. “How stupid am I?”

Stern previously mentioned the same regret on his show back in August of 2014 — the day after Williams died by suicide.

“I wasn’t rude with Robin Williams, but I asked some questions that perhaps went into areas that he had enough of,” Stern recalled on The Howard Stern Show at the time. “I think my whole demeanor and attitude was just sh—y. I wasn’t trying to be mean to Robin Williams. I was just trying to be provocative and interesting for the audience, and doing what it is that I thought had to be done. And I was an immature asshole. And so that always haunted me … and then I kind of filed it away and forgot about it.”

He concluded, “This was a guy who should have been celebrated.”

These days, Stern is focused on conducting more meaningful interviews.

“You can only interview so many strippers,” he shares. “[I] loved the idea that we’d go on the air and measure our penises or discuss vaginal secretions. Whatever it was, if it freaked you out, I loved it because, to me, it was not a big deal. But now I find it gross. And I’d feel really f—ing sh—y if I hadn’t evolved. I’d be completely out of step with the times.”

Read more of Stern’s interview with THR here.

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