Alec Baldwin is getting candid about his battle with Lyme disease.
PEOPLE reported the 59-year-old actor originally told the New York Times in 2011 that he had the illness, but has since been reluctant to talk about the diagnosis.
Baldwin finally told the celebrity news magazine on Monday that he was bitten by a tick about 17 years ago and got a shot. However, he was bitten again a few years later.
“I got the classic Lyme disease (symptoms) for each successive summer, for five years, every August, like these black lung, flu-like symptoms, sweating to death in my bed,” he explained. “The first round (was the worst), and then it diminished, at least that’s how I perceived it.”
Baldwin even feared that he would die from the disease.
“The first time was the worst of all,” he said. “And I really thought this is it, I’m not going to live. I was alone, I wasn’t married at the time, I was divorced from my first wife. I was lying in bed saying, ‘I’m going to die of Lyme disease,’ in my bed and ‘I hope someone finds me and I’m not here for too long.’”
Baldwin added that he and his wife Hilaria make sure to constantly check their children for tick bites.
“I want my kids to grow up riding horses and bikes and enjoying themselves every day and not have to spend every day with us going over them with a magnifying glass to make sure they don’t have any ticks on their body or their dogs, but that is part of the lifestyle of where I live,” he said.
Bay Area Lyme Foundation Executive Director Linda Giampa revealed that she had been trying for years to get Baldwin to attend their LymeAid benefit for research in Portola Valley, Calif. He finally agreed to do it last year. The benefit dinner and concert went on raise more than $8 million.