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Tom Daley feared he might die from Covid after he was rushed to hospital with the virus earlier this year.
The Olympic diver revealed his previous battle with the virus in his new autobiography, Coming Up For Air: What I Learned from Sport, in which he says he was “terrified” that his “time was up”.
In an extract published by The Times (£), the gold medallist said he contracted Covid in January and said his “lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”.
He recalled: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body....
“I honestly felt like I might die.”
After initially beginning to feel better, Tom said his condition later deteriorated, recalling: “My head felt like I had a vice tightening around it and my oxygen levels were dropping.”
A paramedic was then sent to examine Tom after he called 111, and given he had a history of pneumonia, they took him into hospital where an X-ray revealed he had “lots of blotches” on his lungs.
He was kept at the hospital for 10 hours as medics tried to increase his oxygen levels.
“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” Tom said.
“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”
After Tom left hospital, he said he began to feel better three days later.
Tom’s ordeal came just months before he took home Olympic gold at the Tokyo games.
He and diving partner Matty Lee triumphed in the men’s synchronised 10-metre event, while Tom also took home bronze in the individual men’s 10 metre platform.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.