Former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Roger Grimes says he will be undergoing heart surgery in the new year.
Grimes, 63, said doctors have found five blockages that need to be repaired soon.
Grimes, who was elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature in 1989, was Liberal premier from 2001 to 2003.
He said he has always been active, and had been playing recreational hockey up until the past couple of weeks.
Grimes said his first inkling that something might be wrong happened when he started experiencing shortness of breath several months ago.
"If I'd even go for a short jog, that after a very short distance I'd have, you know, shortness of breath to the point that I'd have to stop and walk. And a little bit of tightness in the chest," said Grimes.
"But, as I'd reported to the doctors, if I stopped, it all went away very quickly - went back to normal, so I didn't think it was that serious."
Wife convinced him to see his doctor
Grimes said it took his wife a couple of months to convince him to make an appointment with his doctor and tell the physician about his symptoms.
After a series of tests, doctors determined he would need surgery to repair five blockages.
Grimes, who has had several older brothers with heart problems, had his heart checked out three years ago, and was given a clean bill of health at the time.
"And then three years later, I'm diagnosed with five blockages. It can happen as quickly as that."
Grimes said he was a bit nervous about undergoing major surgery, but he said he feels confident that the medical team and system in St. John's will take good care of him.
'You're not really bothering the doctor. I thought I was.' - Roger Grimes, former premier
He said he wants to tell other men of his age to take any changes in their everyday health seriously.
"All the buddies I have out there, they feel like they're bothering the doctor," said Grimes.
"You're really not bothering the doctor. I thought I was."