Russell Watson is still living with the effects of two terrifying brain tumour scares.
The much-loved opera singer, who is currently entertaining the nation on I’m A Celebrity, feared he wasn’t going to wake up after the second horrifying ordeal.
Russell had been planning his fifth album in 2006 when an aggressive tumour was found growing on his pituitary gland.
A second benign growth was found almost a year to the day later, along with bleeding on his brain, prompting emergency surgery and a course of radiotherapy to combat the tumour.
The musical theatre star has opened up about his traumatic experiences to his fellow campmates in the castle.
And 14 years on, Russell still has to take extreme measures on a daily basis to stay alive.
Russell was forced to take a “cocktail of drugs” ever day – and feared he would die in his sleep.
While Russell is still affected by his illness, he has insisted he will never let it define him.
“I still have to take specific medication every day, because my body doesn’t naturally produce hormones, so I have to inject them,” he told Best magazine in 2018.
“Initially it was a minefield, because I was taking this whole cocktail of drugs to stay alive. It used to get me down. I would get very depressed. I’d go to bed at night but wouldn’t be able to get to sleep – I’d panic because I thought I would die if I fell asleep,” he went on.
“Nowadays, I feel as if each new day is a gift – that’s why I don’t look back anymore.”
Russell, who has been married to wife Louise Harris since August 2016, explained that even getting up in the morning was a time-consuming task.
“When I wake up in the morning, I have to inject myself, and then after an hour I can get up,” he added to Best.
“That’s my routine now, but I’ll never let that illness define me – I’ll never let it beat me.”
Russell told the Mirror in 2014 just how much he’s come to rely on his ‘cocktail of drugs’.
“I wouldn’t last more than 24 hours without my medication,” he said at the time.
Russell bravely opened up on his experience at the start of his I’m A Celebrity journey.
The singer recalled the moment he ‘died’ – and explained the thought of his kids brought him back.
“The second one was the ‘one’, the first wasn’t life threatening, it was painful and I nearly lost my vision,” he said.
“The second one was holy s***, I went home, went to bed and didn’t wake up because of a haemorrhage. My assistant found me, called the paramedics and I knew I was in trouble because the paramedic kept saying ‘stay with us, stay with us’.
“We got to the hospital and they operated. One of the most emotional things after I came out of intensive care was this bloke came up to me and said ‘nice to see you’re doing well Mr Watson’ and I realised it was ‘stay with us, stay with us’.”
When presenter Vernon Kay asked whether Russell had seen the light, he responded: “Big time.”
He explained: “I was in the MIR scanner and I could see this long strip of light, like when you’re a kid and you used to keep your bedroom door open.
“It was a light strip and I was thinking if I go to that door I’m out of here and the pain stops and I’m away.
“All I could think about was my children and slowly slowly whilst thinking about my children the clatter clatter of the MRI came back and I thought I’m going to beat this.”
*I’m A Celebrity airs tonight on ITV at 9pm