Family history scares Rowles

By James Ihaka

John Rowles quit Dancing With The Stars because he was mindful of the deaths of his father and brother at relatively young ages, his younger sister said yesterday.

Cheryl Waetford, the inspiration for his 1969 hit song Cheryl Moana Marie, said the Rowles family had a history of health problems and her brother's sudden turn last Saturday had her "very worried".

While Rowles' exit from the show was a surprise, Mrs Waetford was relieved he had left. Rowles suffers from blood-pressure problems.

"We've already lost one brother. He just kept on going, had a massive stroke, went to hospital, was discharged and dropped dead within four days," said Mrs Waetford.

"Our father died of a massive heart attack and he was 57, my older brother was only 59 and John is 62 this month ... so it was the sensible thing to do."

Mrs Waetford took Rowles to an Auckland accident and emergency clinic last Saturday after the crooner complained that he felt unwell.

She said he was suffering from low blood pressure.

"He knew there was something wrong with him ... it was clear he wasn't going to be able to bounce back up."

Rowles is understood to be resting in Auckland not far from Mrs Waetford's home. She said he missed his two young sons, Dane and Blake, who live at his home in Australia.

Mrs Waetford said his recent scare was not his first bout of ill-health.

Rowles was performing in Los Angeles in the late 1970s when he had a blockage in his upper colon.

"That was the last massive scare he had and it was quite a while ago but he could have died.

People don't know his work ethic, he's been touring and singing all over the place for the last 50 years."

Rowles did not return Weekend Herald calls.

Earlier this week he released a statement saying he was suffering from exhaustion and was unable to continue with the demands of rehearsing for and appearing on the show.

"I have been advised to rest," he said.

Dancing With The Stars producer Debra Kelleher said Rowles could still make an appearance in the show's finale.

"But it will depend on his condition and medical advice. We were very sad to lose him, but we completely understand."

- NZ Herald

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