Claude Littner won't be returning for the next series of The Apprentice after injuring himself in a serious accident.
The 72-year-old businessman has acted as an aide for Lord Sugar on the BBC programme since 2015 but he will now be replaced by season one winner and entrepreneur Tim Campbell.
Littner's accident happened while he was riding an electric bike about a mile away from his London home in April.
He will have to learn to walk again after hurting his right leg so badly that he has required nine surgeries to date and doctors initially thought they may have to amputate.
He explained: "I was just pottering along, I must have been doing no more than 10 kilometres an hour on this sort of two-track road. The next thing I knew, I was on the left hand side of the street, my bike was in the middle of the road and I didn’t know what happened.
“I suspect I hit a pothole or something like that, but I must have blanked out at the moment of impact, because the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground.”
Littner realised the severity of his injuries when he looked down to see bone sticking out of his leg.
He was taken to St Mary's Hospital where doctors "decided they were going to amputate [his] leg".
"Then they had another chat about it and they said, ‘Look, let’s get him into theatre right away tonight and let’s see if we can save his leg’. And I went into theatre and it was a very long operation and they didn’t take my leg off," he shared.
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Following multiple surgeries he has returned home for three weeks before undergoing another operation on 19 July. Littner, who had lost two stone since the accident, has said he is a "determined person" who has "absolute determination" to recover.
He said he would return to The Apprentice as soon as possible, remarking: "There’s no ifs and buts about it.”
Baroness Karren Brady will be back in the boardroom alongside Lord Sugar and Campbell when the competition returns early next year.
Lord Sugar said: “Claude has been part of the series since the beginning and is leaving an important boardroom chair to temporarily fill. I’ve been speaking to him regularly about his recovery, and of course hope we see him back in the boardroom very soon.
“In the meantime, my former winner Tim Campbell will step into Claude’s seat and be my eyes and ears as the candidates face a tough set of business challenges in the upcoming series.”
Meanwhile, Campbell said he was "saddened" to hear of Littner's accident but that he was "excited" to be temporarily filling his shoes.
With additional reporting by PA.
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