Former X Factor star Chico Slimani has given his first live interview after suffering a life-threatening stroke last week.
Chico, who’s just 47 years old, appeared on today’s (September 28) Loose Women to tell his story after doctors suggested his recovery was like nothing they’d experienced.
A blood clot the size of “a 50 pence piece” was found in Chico’s brain, which led to what was described as a “full-blown stroke”, but the entertainer has since made a swift and full recovery.
“You could say I’m a walking, talking miracle,” Chico told the Loose Women panel. “I am so grateful to be alive.”
Appearing fit and well, Chico recalled his terrifying experience as he drove home from teaching a fitness class, admitting that he first thought he was having “a spiritual experience”.
“Literally, I’m losing touch with this reality,” he remembered. “I’m losing touch with the five senses and the three-dimensional world that we know as life.
“At this moment, I’m just thinking this is an awakening or an enlightenment, [which] begins as a near-death experience… I had no idea [I was having a stroke].”
Chico – who’s also known as Yousseph Slimani – then broke down as he reflected on what he thought would be the last few moments of his life.
“I was in the middle of a car park and I thought to myself, ‘I’m here… alone and I’m just about to die’. Everything had disappeared, there was no time or space.”
Adding that he experienced “a life review”, Chico said that he pleaded with a higher power to let him ‘fulfil his mission’.
“I said, ‘I’m 47, I really don’t want to go just yet. I don’t feel I’ve fulfilled my mission yet.’ I went, ‘If I close my eyes and don’t wake up again, I just want you to know I’ve done my best.'”
As well as thanking his family for their support, fitness instructor Chico praised the staff at Barnet Hospital and the Stroke Association, adding that he hopes to use his experience to raise awareness of the risks of strokes.
“[If] this has happened to me – I’m speaking from an experiential point of view – it could happen to anybody,” he added.
Loose Women airs weekdays from 12.30pm on ITV.
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