What happened to Jeremy Renner? Snow plough accident and injuries explained as he talks about 'last words' to family

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The Marvel actor was crushed by a six-tonne snow ploughing machine in January

Jeremy Renner has shared that he wrote his "last words" to his family as he lay in hospital after a serious snow plough accident. Last month the Hollywood star showed his recovery journey to his fans after sustaining life-changing injuries.

The Marvel actor, 52, was crushed by a six-tonne snow ploughing machine while trying to save his nephew near his home near the Nevada-California state border in the US. He has kept fans updated with his recovery process so far, revealing he had suffered blunt chest trauma and broken more than 30 bones in the incident near his Nevada home on New Year’s Day.

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In footage from an upcoming interview, Jeremy Renner: The Diane Sawyer Interview - A Story of Terror, Survival and Triumph, the actor is seen breaking down in tears as he describes lying in hospital. He told Sawyer: "So I'm writing down notes on my phone [which are the] last words to my family." However, he said he would "do it again" as the plough was heading straight towards his nephew Alexander Fries, whose car Renner was trying to free from the snow. His nephew said he "didn't think his uncle was alive", after seeing "a pool of blood coming from his head".

On Sunday (26 March), the 52-year-old shared a video of himself on social media showing himself walking on an anti-gravity treadmill as he continues to undergo physical therapy. Renner wrote in the caption: “I now have to find OTHER things to occupy my time so my body can recover from my will”, and in the video, he can be heard saying: “It’s like having a cane”, as the machine supports 40% of his weight.

Since leaving hospital, Renner has been sharing various recovery updates with fans, including his workout routines for rehabilitation. He previously posted a video of himself using an exercise bike using a handheld pole to help push his left leg, along with the caption “whatever it takes”.

He has made a swift recovery following the accident at the start of the year, with his co-star Evangeline Lilly, 43, who starred alongside him in the 2008 Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker, describing his recovery as a “miracle”. Lily recently visited the wheelchair-bound actor at his home and told US outlet Access Hollywood: “He has recovered like a mo-fo. I walked in his house and got chicken skin, because I was like, ‘Why are you mobile? Why are you mobile? What’s happening?’

Jeremy Renner said he was ‘too messed up now to type’ in a post to fans on social media (Photo: Jeremy Renner / Instagram)Jeremy Renner said he was ‘too messed up now to type’ in a post to fans on social media (Photo: Jeremy Renner / Instagram)
Jeremy Renner said he was ‘too messed up now to type’ in a post to fans on social media (Photo: Jeremy Renner / Instagram) | Jeremy Renner / Instagram

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“I expected to sit at his bedside and hold his hand while he moaned and groaned in pain and wasn’t able to move. He was wheeling himself around, laughing with his friends. It’s a miracle, a straight-up miracle. He’s made of something really tough, that guy. You’ve always been able to see that in him. He is recovering incredibly, and I’m so grateful.”

Lilly also said that Renner had shared intimate details of the accident with her, having been conscious throughout. She told Access Hollywood: “He had a near-death experience that was highly traumatic and he was awake for the whole thing.

“It really has stuck with me. It’s been days and I’m still having moments where some of the stuff he told me that he experienced and retelling me the story of what went on and things he could hear and things he could see.”

She added: “He’s got a journey to go through now. That’s what nightmares are made out of, and he lived through it and he’s on the other side now.”

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What happened to Jeremy Renner?

Renner, known for playing the bow-and-arrow-wielding Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), was admitted to hospital on 1 January after being run over by his own six tonne snow plough. He was airlifted to hospital after suffering “blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries” in the accident near the Mount Rose Highway, which links Lake Tahoe and south Reno, straddling the Nevada-California border.

At a press conference on 3 January, Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam said Renner was helping a family member, who had become stuck in heavy snow, when the incident occurred. Sheriff Balaam said the Sheriff’s office had received a call at 8.55am following reports of a crash involving a SnowCat ploughing machine and a civilian. He told the news conference: “Based on our investigation, Mr Renner’s personal vehicle, which was being driven by a family member, had become stuck in the snow near his home.

“Mr Renner went to retrieve his… SnowCat, an extremely large piece of snow removal equipment, weighing at least 14,330 pounds (6.4 tonnes), in an effort to get his vehicle moving.”

Sheriff Balaam said that after successfully freeing his vehicle, Renner had got out to speak with the family member when the SnowCat had begun to roll. Renner had attempted to get back into the machine, at which point he was run over, he said. The Sheriff added that there were no signs of “any foul play” and that the incident had been a “tragic accident”, before going on to praise Renner, who is an honorary Washoe County Deputy Sheriff, and his “tremendous impact” in the community.

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He said: “He’s had a huge impact, not only in this office and helping us with our outreach… but throughout the community he has been very generous. He is one of those individuals that, most of the time you don’t know that he’s doing it, but he has made a tremendous impact on this community.”

Immediately after the incident, Renner posted a picture of himself from his hospital bed, thanking fans for their support, but said he was “too messed up to type”. He wrote: “Thank you all for your kind words. I’m too messed up now to type. But I send love to you all.”

The Marvel actor was airlifted to hospital after an accident while ploughing snow (Photo: Getty Images)The Marvel actor was airlifted to hospital after an accident while ploughing snow (Photo: Getty Images)
The Marvel actor was airlifted to hospital after an accident while ploughing snow (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images for Disney

What is known about his injuries?

Renner was trying to stop a six-tonne snowplough from crashing into his nephew when he became trapped and crushed by the machine, a police report has disclosed. According to a 911 call log obtained by Fox News Digital, he was "completely crushed" underneath the snow plough and had “extreme difficulty” breathing after the accident. The call log states that he was “bleeding heavily from his head and other unknown injuries”, and the right side of his chest had collapsed and his upper torso was crushed.

A statement from Renner’s publicist on 2 January said: “We can confirm that Jeremy has suffered blunt chest trauma and orthopaedic injuries and has undergone surgery today, Jan. 2, 2023. He has returned from surgery and remains in the intensive care unit in critical but stable condition.

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“Jeremy’s family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, Washoe County Sheriff, Reno City Mayor Hillary Schieve and the Carano and Murdock families. They are also tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”

The actor previously said that he had broken more than 30 bones in the incident, but they would “grow stronger, just like the love and bond with family and friends deepens”. Posting a photo on Instagram of him receiving treatment while lying in a hospital bed at the end of last month, Renner wrote: “Morning workouts, resolutions all changed this particular new years…

“Spawned from tragedy for my entire family, and quickly focused into uniting actionable love. I want to thank EVERYONE for their messages and thoughtfulness for my family and I. Much love and appreciation to you all. These 30 plus broken bones will mend, grow stronger, just like the love and bond with family and friends deepens. Love and blessings to you all.”

An inside source told Radar Online that there are serious doubts over whether Renner will “ever be able to walk right again – or at all.” The publication quoted the source as saying: “His loved ones worry the damage was significant enough to prevent him from moving the way he used to – that is if he doesn’t lose the leg altogether.”

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The actor’s sister Kym Renner recently told People that he is “making positive progress.” She told the publication: “We are so thrilled with his progress. If anyone knows Jeremy, he is a fighter and doesn’t mess around. He is crushing all the progress goals. We couldn’t feel more positive about the road ahead.”

Marvel co-stars send well-wishes

Renner’s Marvel co-stars led tributes to the “hard as nails” actor as he continues to recover from the serious accident. Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt and Paul Bettany, were among those sending well-wishes to the star, who is well-known for playing the bow and arrow wielding Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the MCU, wrote: “Speedy recovery buddy. Sending love your way!”, while Evans, star of Captain America added: “Tough as nails. Love you buddy.”

Pratt, who plays Peter Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, said: “Continued prayers your way brutha.” British star Bettany, who portrayed Vision in the MCU, wrote: “Love you mate. Sending you love and healing.”

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Marvel directors Taika Waititi and the Russo brothers also wished Renner well, with the latter writing: “Sending all of our love, brother, and hopes for a speedy recovery. My brother, I love you,” added Waititi.

Other famous faces sending positive messages included US talk show host Jimmy Fallon, actresses Vanessa Hudgens and Penelope Cruz, Orlando Bloom and Heidi Klum.

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