TV presenter Charlie Webster wakes from coma in Rio: 'Look at all the machines keeping me alive'

By Thomas Burrows, Nick Fagge, Claudia Joseph

Charlie Webster has woken from her coma in hospital in Rio. Photo: @CharlieCW/Twitter
Charlie Webster has woken from her coma in hospital in Rio. Photo: @CharlieCW/Twitter

Brave TV presenter Charlie Webster is battling back from a rare tropical disease and has woken from her coma in hospital in Rio, her mother said today.

The 33-year-old said to her family at her hospital bedside "look at all these machines keeping me alive" - as her mother Joy, said "it has been the worst imaginable time."

Charlie is fighting for her life after being struck down with a form of malaria.

She was was brought out of an induced coma and will remain conscious while doctors carry out tests. Her breathing is now being supported by a respirator, the Daily Mail reported.

Joy, 50, who has flown to Brazil from her home in Leeds, West Yorkshire, revealed the star's kidneys are not responding to treatment and she remains on dialysis.

She said: "Charlotte knows she nearly died. She mouthed to me earlier 'look at all the machines keeping me alive'.

"Charlotte is really strong but as the doctors keep reminding me, everyone heals differently.

"I am just so thankful that she's able to communicate with us again.

"It's been the worst imaginable time - we have been beside ourselves with worry, but the fact Charlotte is now conscious is amazing.

Webster was one of the official presenters for Team GB at the Olympics and was working alongside fellow ambassadors for a number of different broadcasters. Photo: @CharlieCW/Twitter
Webster was one of the official presenters for Team GB at the Olympics and was working alongside fellow ambassadors for a number of different broadcasters. Photo: @CharlieCW/Twitter

"Knowing Charlotte, the thing she'll be most annoyed about is that she's missed the Olympics.

"She will be especially gutted not to have seen Nicola Adams fight today - there's a TV on the wall, so hopefully she can at least watch the Women's Boxing final."

The former Sky Sports presenter's spokeswoman added: "Charlie's family and friends have been incredibly touched by the overwhelming support and love shown to Charlie today.

"Their main focus now is for Charlie to be stable enough to fly back to the UK."

Charlie remains in intensive care, with her mother and brother by her bedside, she added.

The family have thanked the "incredible doctors" who are treating Charlie and also thanked the "fantastic" British Consulate.

Charlie is in Brazil as one of the official presenters for Team GB. She embarked on a gruelling 3,000-mile charity bike ride from the UK to Rio in time for the start of the Games.

Her doctors have details of the route and are using that information to calculate where and when she may have contracted malaria.

Charlie "bawled her eyes out" after feeling "so sick" six weeks ago in Spain during the ride to the Olympics.

She threw up during the race and "gulped down" Paracetamol.

It is not known whether the two incidents are connected but Charlie has spoken in the past about suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

In a blog dated July 6, she wrote: "I had a pretty rough night last night, I felt so sick and then was sick. I ended up sat on the floor in my hotel room balling my eyes out to my mum and my friend.

"I just feel so sick... my mum and friend were fantastic! I got off the phone, sniffled a bit, drank some water and fell asleep.

"I woke up this morning still feeling like I'd been dug up! I'm normally the most smiley, positive person but this morning I struggled to even speak. I managed to force some muesli down me, have a little whimper to Shiv our Ride to Rio team manager and get myself on the bike.

"I started to peddle and we started downhill which helped as we'd climbed the mountain the night before doing an extra 5 miles to get ahead. I was pretty grateful for that. I decided to do my best to convince myself I was ok and really take care of my hydration and food - and gulped a few paracetamol's down!"

By lunchtime, Charlie had recovered enough to drink "a large glass of Rioja" before having lunch in the medieval town of Santo Domingo.

But, on July 22, the TV host had another lapse of sickness in Brazil. "I went through about an hour of just feeling rubbish, sick, eyes allover the place and head banging," she wrote.

"We pulled up for some shade and to take on a few gels and we all just slumped on a makeshift bench, clearly all feeling the same. The hills were tough but the heat just makes it ten times harder."

Her publicist Megan Carver said: "Charlie has contracted a rare form of malaria and is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

"Charlie is getting the best treatment available from a team of specialist doctors from Brazil, the USA and the UK."

The build-up to the Rio Olympics was overshadowed by concerns about the Zika outbreak, but it is the better known mosquito-borne virus which Webster has contracted.

On Thursday, a message posted on Charlie's Twitter page by her team read: "Thank you very much for all your messages of support, it means so much. #TeamCharlie."

A friend of hers told The Sun: "Charlie is battling for survival at the moment - everyone is distraught.

"But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.

"The doctors have now identified the very rare malaria strain she has contracted so she is receiving the right treatment in Rio."

She was one of Team GB's official presenters at the Olympics and was working alongside fellow ambassadors for a number of different broadcasters.

The TV presenter is being treated in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Copacabana.

The imposing private hospital is the clinic of choice for Brazil's rich and famous.

Hospital staff declined to discuss Webster's condition when approached by MailOnline last night.

She arrived in Rio on August 4 and the following night attended the opening ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium.

But she is said to have felt unwell during the event and began vomiting.

She initially put it down to dehydration and felt well enough to post pictures from hospital on social media.

She tweeted: "Very rough day, severe dehydration & infection - 2 drips & antibiotics #Rio."

Later Charlie added: "I'm getting there...awful few days with serious infection #Rio".

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing support to a British woman who is in hospital in Rio."

Last December Webster split amicably from her actor boyfriend of one year Allen Leech, who played Tom Branson in Downton Abbey, with the pair wanting to focus on their respective careers.

She made headlines in January 2014 after she waived her right to anonymity as a victim of sex assault after revealing she'd been abused by her running coach.

Her support of sexual abuse victims saw her threaten to resign as a patron of football club Sheffield United if they re-signed rapist Ched Evans.

Her cycling journey began in London and took her through France, Spain and Portugal. She then flew to the north of Brazil before cycling down the country to Rio.

A friend said Webster checked the medical risks and was told she did not need to take anti-malaria drugs because of where she was travelling.

Fears had been raised ahead of the Olympics about the Zika outbreak, leading to a number of high-profile sports stars including golfer Rory McIlroy choosing to opt out of the Games.

The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

World Health Organisation guidance states that the risk of malaria transmission is "negligible or non-existent" except in the Amazon region, also encompassing the Northern states of Brazil.

This includes the city of Manaus which is hosting some of the Olympic football matches.

- Daily Mail

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