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Robert Webb underwent emergency surgery last year after doctors discovered he had a congenital heart defect.
The Peep Show star, who is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing, revealed at the Henley Literary Festival that he went to the doctor for a check-up just before lockdown began in March last year after feeling rough for some time and learned that one of the valves in his heart had prolapsed and his blood was flowing backwards into a different chamber of the heart instead of being pushed around his body.
"It had almost doubled in size, it was this really weird shape and it was doing all this just to keep the show on the road," he revealed, reports The Sun. "My heart thought that I was running up a hill when I was asleep, and I had not noticed. I thought: 'Well, I am tired, as I treat my body like a skip.'
"The cardiologist told me: 'I am not saying you are going to have a heart attack in the next fortnight but if we don't fix it in the next two to three months this heart will fail.' So that got my attention."
After having open-heart surgery, the 49-year-old overhauled his lifestyle and ditched alcohol, which he believes he had become addicted to, and was the fittest he had ever been when he signed up for Strictly.
"When I first came out of hospital I could not walk to the end of the street without help. I couldn't even lift a kettle for four weeks," he shared. "So gradually you build up again until you are doing longer and longer walks. Then seven months later the walks turn into runs - and then you become a dancer.
"You come out with a whole different attitude towards your internal organs, like, 'Yeah, these are my guys.' My body has been through a really traumatic thing. All I want to do is do right by it. I want to look after it."