When last I wrote about Rosie O'Donnell, the 51-year-old comedian was in the midst of a major lifestyle overhaul. In August 2012, after surviving what's notoriously known as a "Widow Maker" heart attack, O'Donnell shifted to a plant-based diet and started incorporating more exercise into her life. 

“I had a really sedentary lifestyle and that’s deadly,” she told People magazine. “It took a heart attack for me to learn to take care of myself … Now I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life.”

Despite the diet shift and a loss of nearly 12 pounds initially, O'Donnell hit a plateau — finding it increasingly difficult to drop below her goal of 200 pounds. During a luncheon on Feb. 14 sponsored by the American Hearth Association, O'Donnell revealed that in July 2013, she elected to have gastric sleeve surgery. The weight-loss procedure permanently reduces the stomach to nearly one-fourth of its original size, restricting the amount of food the patient can eat and making them feel "full" sooner.

As a result, O'Donnell told the audience that she has since dropped from 230 pounds to 190 pounds. "I did it to save my life," she said, adding that she is still committed to eating healthy and exercising regularly. 

Rosie O'Donnell in January 2014 after weight loss

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

"She tried to lose weight on her own but it wasn't working,"her rep Cindi Berger told People. "It was a life-saving surgery. But it's only a tool, not a cure."

In a tweet yesterday, Rosie linked to a new documentary film called "The Widowmaker," saying "Watch this film, it could save your life." Check out a trailer below. 

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Rosie O’Donnell loses 40 pounds after vertical gastric sleeve surgery
Comedian has been trying hard to lose weight after suffering a heart attack in 2012.