Paul Holmes returns home to Hawke's Bay

By COREY CHARLTON

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Veteran broadcaster Paul Holmes returned home to Hawke's Bay yesterday only two weeks after undergoing open-heart surgery in Auckland.

Mr Holmes looked pale and slightly unsteady, but on the road to recovery when he landed at Hawke's Bay Airport on the 12.40pm flight from Auckland.

Friends and fans of the likable radio and television host had been concerned when he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a usually genetic condition in which the heart muscle thickens and impedes and blocks blood flow.

The 62-year-old was flown to Auckland after the condition was confirmed by his Hastings cardiologist on May 30.

He underwent four hours of surgery on June 6 and concern mounted when he was placed in an induced coma over the next weekend to hasten his recovery.

He came out of the coma in the next week and has steadily recovered since then.

Wearing dark sunglasses, a jacket and jeans, Mr Holmes was accompanied by wife Deborah Hamilton-Holmes yesterday.

He descended the plane's steps with assistance from a flight attendant and gave a brief wave as he moved slowly at his wife's side to the waiting car.

Such was the low-key nature of his return to Hawke's Bay, several passengers on the plane said they had no idea he had flown with them.

Mr Holmes previously told the Herald he was "a bit scared" about the operation but had confidence in the team working on him at Auckland City Hospital.

"This is a biggie, but I have every confidence in the team here," he said.

"We will get through."

Mr Holmes has also been positive about the long-term prognosis, including a return to work as a Newstalk ZB and TVNZ host and Weekend Herald columnist.

A statement on behalf of Mr Holmes and his wife, released by Newstalk ZB after he was placed in a coma, thanked the public for their support.

"The family have been reading Paul the many amazing letters and emails received from the public and want to thank people once again for their support," it said.

Kerre Woodham, filling in for Mr Holmes on his Saturday morning radio show, told listeners last weekend of the support and encouragement he had given her in the early stages of her broadcasting career. She wished him well in his recovery.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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