LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) – Former Malden Mills owner Aaron Feuerstein was watching Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” with his wife when he experienced chest pains that led to emergency heart surgery.

“The movie had hardly started when he developed the chest pains,” his son Daniel said Thursday.

Feuerstein was airlifted to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester on July 12. Surgeons there repaired an aortic dissection, a condition in which the large artery comes apart.

His wife, Louise, told the Eagle-Tribune newspaper that the couple was in a theater watching Moore’s film, which is critical of the Bush administration, when the crisis began.

Feuerstein remains hospitalized and his doctors expect the 78-year-old to make a full recovery within two months.

Feuerstein became nationally known when he continued to pay wages and benefits to his workers after a devastating 1995 fire that destroyed most of his textile mill and injured 33 people, eight of them badly.

Insurance covered only three-quarters of the $400 million rebuilding costs, and the Lawrence-based company, which makes Polartec fleece, filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2001.

Malden Mills emerged from bankruptcy last year, but Feuerstein has been unable to raise enough money to buy back control of the company from its creditors.

Feuerstein, whose grandfather founded the company in 1906, recently announced he had resigned from the company to pursue the buyback effort full time. He believes local control of the company is essential to keeping its jobs from going overseas.

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