Mark Wills paid an unexpected visit to the ER last month, after his large intestine ruptured. The country singer says even the medical staff was shocked by the amount of toxins that had been "spewing" inside of him and poisoning his system. After a successful surgery, doctors bluntly informed Mark that had he wasted any more time getting to the hospital, he would have died.

"There's not many more ways to bring you down to reality or put you in your place or make you realize how fragile life is when your doctor tells you, 'Dude, you were dying,'" Mark tells The Boot. "Once that shock sort of wears off, then you realize what you're leaving. That's where it really bothers you. It never dawned on me how precious your time is and how quickly it can be gone.

"I kept thinking of that Tim McGraw song, 'Live Like You Were Dying,'" he continues. "I can literally remember waking up the day after my surgery thinking about it. I loved that song from the very first time I heard it, then all of a sudden, it was like wow! I'm in the hospital planning for things to do when I get out of here; I'm going to do this and this, I'm going to take more time for my kids, I'm not going to let the little things in life stress me out, I'm not going to worry about the things that I cannot change. All of these things were running through my head. You realize what's important."

Mark has been spending a majority of his recovery time at home near Atlanta, Ga. with his wife Kelly and their two daughters, Mally (12) and Macey (7). Mark admits that he is having a hard time adjusting to all the downtime.

"I'm not used to sitting this long doing nothing," he says. "I get tired a lot more than I used to. I haven't been doing any gun training. I'm not able to run. The last thing I want to do is rip my gut open right now! [laughs] But I'll be back. This is not the end by any means. Maybe this is a new beginning. I'm pretty excited about that. I think that it will be good."

"I'm grateful to be alive," Mark admits. "It's really been a kick in the butt. I felt invincible, and we all feel invincible. I don't think there's anyone out there that's been 37 years old that hasn't had a health issue that doesn't feel invincible. We know that we're not going to live forever, but at the same time, if nothing's ever happened to you, [you're thinking] 'I'm good! Nothing's going to happen to me.'"

Prior to his medical emergency, Mark had been in the studio working hard on what he calls his "best work yet." Six songs for the album have been completed thus far. Mark will head back into the studio to finish the project in early 2011.

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