Matthew Corbett has revealed he almost died after contracting coronavirus, which triggered a heart condition.
The 72-year-old children’s entertainer spent 10 days in hospital and was told doctors were unsure whether he would survive.
Corbett told Cheshire Life magazine: “I caught corona. I was in Warrington General Hospital for 10 nights and have been told since that it was touch-and-go as to whether I would survive.
“As a result of the coronavirus I then got pneumonia, which led to atrial fibrillation. It was much worse for my family than for me. They were terrified, they thought I wasn't coming out of hospital.”
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that causes an irregular and often very fast heartbeat.
The Sooty and Co star revealed that seven weeks on from leaving hospital he is still feeling breathless and “so weak”. As a result he and wife Sallie, 71, have decided to sell their home and move to a retirement village.
Corbett said: “I can’t mow the lawn, it’s too big, and I can’t carry down the shopping... We’re moving to a retirement village in Horsham, in West Sussex, where everything is on the doorstep.”
The Sooty Show star and wife Sallie share three adult children, Ben, a sound supervisor; Tamsin, a special-needs teacher; and Joe, who is a GP.
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Corbett, whose real name is Peter, is the son of the late children’s entertainer Harry Corbett who created beloved glove puppet character Sooty in 1952.
Matthew took over from his dad as the hand behind the famous bear in 1976.
He starred in The Sooty Show and then Sooty & Co on ITV before retiring in 1998 after 22 years.
The adventures of Sooty have continued to be a hit on children’s television in new spin-off shows.