What a Near-Death Experience Taught One Man About Life

Season 5 Episode 317
Aired on 10/17/2015 | CC tv-14
Over the years, Oprah says she's met many survivors of near-death experiences, but she will always remember a man named John Diaz.

John was a passenger aboard Singapore Airlines Flight 006 when it crashed in October 2000. No one imagined there would be survivors, but John lived to tell his story. "There was all this spray of jet fuel, which was like napalm, and whatever it hit...ignited like a torch," he told Oprah in 2007. "It looked like a Dante's Inferno with people strapped in to their seats and just burning. It seemed to look like an aura was leaving their bodies and some [were] brighter than others."

After witnessing this horrific scene, John says he walked away with a new sense of spirituality. "I believe life continues on," he said. "I thought, you know, the brightness and dimness of the auras were how one lives one's life, so to speak. I want to live my life so my aura, when it leaves, is very bright."

While John set out to create the brightest aura for himself, he encountered some darkness over the past eight years. "I had trouble with my legs after the plane crash," he says. "One of the biggest problems with injuries like mine is the pain issues, and because of that, I was on a lot of different opiates over the time. You become an addict no matter what."

In 2010, John traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, where he was arrested for buying drugs illegally. He says he had a prescription. "They originally threw me into a cell, 8x13 foot cell with 34 other men. You really had to fight for your life just about every minute of the day," he says. "After close to three months, they dropped all the charges and let me go."

Then, just a few months ago, John was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Watch as he opens up about his fight for survival once again.