Christopher Cross speaks out on near-fatal COVID-19 battle

Christopher Cross is on the mend.

The singer, 69, who is known for hits like “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” and “Sailing,” told CBS Sunday Morning that while he’s doing fine these days, his bout with COVID-19 earlier this year nearly killed him.

“There was some, you know, come-to-Jesus moments or whatever, where I was looking for any help I could get, you know, through this, to get outta this thing,” Cross told correspondent Serena Altschul. “‘Cause I wasn’t sure.”

When asked by Altschul when he thinks he was exposed, Cross said he assumes it was on a trip to Mexico.

“It was early March that I went to Mexico City for a concert,” he recalled. “And, to be frank, you know, nobody knew about masks or anything like that. No one wore masks on the plane. No one was doing that. We weren’t made aware that it was a problem.”

Along with his girlfriend Joy, Cross got very sick, and was left laid up at home for several weeks.

“We both got very sick with COVID,” he said. “We were sick for about three weeks. The biggest thing I remember is just incredible malaise — just, you couldn’t lift your head.”

Cross revealed his diagnosis on April 3 in a lengthy Facebook post, and advised those who weren’t taking the virus seriously to do so from now on.

“For those of you who still do not believe the COVID-19 virus is real, or think it is a ‘hoax’ or part of some conspiracy,” he wrote at the time, “my advice to you is to understand right now that this is a deadly illness spreading like wildfire throughout the world.”

Christopher Cross (pictured in 1986) says he struggled to play guitar after experiencing paralysis as he battled COVID-19. (Photo: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Christopher Cross (pictured in 1986) says he struggled to play guitar after experiencing paralysis as he battled COVID-19. (Photo: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images)

While Cross soon felt he was on the mend, the virus proved to take more out of him than he realized.

“I went to the market. Then when I got home, I just, my legs just gave out,” said Cross. “That was it. Couldn’t walk at all.”

He was soon diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an illness where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. Cross says his doctor believes the disease was caused by COVID-19. As his body struggled with the virus, he found himself hospitalized and unable to walk.

“You know, just, boom, I’m paralyzed. I’m in the hospital, but I can’t turn over. I can barely do anything,” said Cross. “My hands were also paralytic, which is hard, ’cause I play the guitar, of course. I wasn’t sure whether I would get that back.”

Cross calls his period of hospitalization “the worst 10 days of my life.”

“I couldn’t walk, could barely move. And so, it was certainly the darkest of times for me, you know?” he said. “It was really touch-and-go, and tough.”

When asked by Altschul what he was saying to himself during those horrifying moments in the hospital, Cross says he spoke to a higher power, asking that he just make it out alive.

“I could tell you that I had a few conversations, you know, when I was in there with whoever He or She is, and just saying, you know, ‘If you could just get me outta here, I will be a better person,'” he said. “You’re just looking for any sign of light, you know, in that darkness.”

Cross eventually recovered, and was discharged from the hospital. While he has regained the use of his legs, he now uses a cane to walk. He also has some issues speaking at times, as well as remembering things.

“Yeah, my walking is affected,” he explained. “My speech at times can be affected. Memory is a big deal, too. Just neurologically I’m kinda a little foggy, you know? Now, I’m on medication, a nerve pain medication which also can cause some of the fogginess. But until I can get off of it at some point, I won’t really know how clear I would be.”

He added that for most people living with Guillain-Barré, it requires about a year’s time to get back to normal. In the meantime, he’s doing his best to get the word out about how serious the virus really is.

“It’s not like I’m that big a celebrity, but it’s important for people to know you can get this disease,” Cross concluded. “And so, I felt it was sort of my obligation that I wanted to share with people: ‘Look, you know, this is a big deal. Like, you gotta wear your mask. You gotta take care of each other. Because, you know, this could happen to you.'”

While he hasn’t headed back to the stage quite yet, Cross is certainly looking forward to that moment.

“I don’t know whether I’ll walk out with my cane and I’ll sit down on a stool,” he shared. “But I’ve gotta tell you, and it’s hard to, you know, keep it together here, but, you know my fans, I know them. And they love me. I really feel in my heart, at least, that the fans are gonna be with me.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

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