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Sports Presenter Charlie Webster In A Coma After Contracting Rare Form Of Malaria On Her Way To Rio

TodayNewsReview / Entertainment / Sports / Sports Presenter Charlie Webster In A Coma After Contracting Rare Form Of Malaria On Her Way To Rio 813 Views

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Charlie Webster, a television host working with the Team GB Olympic media team, was in an induced coma in a Rio hospital on Wednesday night with a rare strain of malaria.

The former Sky Sports presenter, 33, is thought to have contracted the disease on a charity bike ride.

She cycled 3,000 miles from London's Olympic Stadium to Rio to raise funds for the Jane Tomlinson Foundation, and was due to stay on in Rio as part of Team GB's Great Britons campaign alongside Nick Grimshaw and Jodie Kidd.

However, she fell ill with what was initially thought to be a kidney problem before becoming seriously ill.

Her mother, brother and manager have flown from the UK to be at her bedside. She was placed in an induced coma on Wednesday night.

"There are real concerns for her, it is a serious condition," said a source close to the star. "We are so worried for her but at the same time she is very fit so we are praying she will pull through."

Doctors from Britain are being consulted about her treatment. The very rare malaria strain she has contracted has now been identified so she is receiving the right treatment in Rio, with advice being provided by doctors at the London School of Tropical Medicine.

Webster, who once dated Downton Abbey star Allen Leech, had been working alongside other big name ambassadors, including Nick Grimshaw and Gethin Jones, for various broadcasters.

In the Ride to Rio, Webster and ex-Rugby League professionals Keith Senior and Paul Highton joined Mike Tomlinson in a six-week journey that set off on June 27 from London’s Olympic Stadium to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, covering 90 miles a day with only one rest day in every seven. The first leg of the journey saw her cycle 1,300 miles to Lisbon.

She arrived in the Brazilian capital on August 4 and appeared to be in good health. She was attending the Olympic Opening Ceremony the following evening when she started feeling unwell.

The marathon runner shared her frustration with her fans on social media the day after she was admitted to hospital on Saturday August 6, writing: "6 weeks on the road ends in this. Very rough day, severe dehydration & infection - 2 drips & antibiotics #Rio".

But Webster remained positive, telling fans on August 9: "I'm getting there ... awful few days with serious infection #Rio."

She posted a photo showing her lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a drip, but smiling, adding later: "Looking forward to being a part of @TeamGB here at #Rio2016."

However Webster made no more posts and a statement on her Facebook and Twitter profiles on August 11 revealed how her condition had worsened.

It said: "Charlie has updated you all throughout her cycle and we know her silence was causing concern.

"On Saturday, 6th August, Charlie became unwell and was admitted to hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

"What was initially thought as dehydration, caused by her riding to Rio, has since been diagnosed as a severe complication caused by a bacterial infection.

"Charlie is receiving great care and we will update when we can."

A further update, posted on Thursday morning, added: "Thank you very much for your messages of support, it means so much #TeamCharlie."

The Ride to Rio campaign wished Webster a speedy recovery via Twitter, describing her as a "tough lady".

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


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