Sheffield & South Yorkshire

TV presenter Charlie Webster brought out of Rio malaria coma

Charlie Webster on her Ride to Rio Image copyright PA
Image caption Charlie Webster was taken ill after cycling 3,000 miles to Rio

A television sports presenter who was diagnosed with malaria following a 3,000-mile charity cycle ride to Rio has been brought out of her medically induced coma, her manager has said..

Charlie Webster, 33, who has worked for Sky and ITV, became unwell after watching the Olympic opening ceremony.

She remains in intensive care but doctors have said they are "very happy with Charlie's neurological results".

Her mother said: "The fact Charlotte is now conscious is amazing."

Ms Webster is being kept on dialysis as her kidneys are not responding to treatment and is being supported by a respirator.

Her mother said in a statement that she had been able to speak to her family.

'Worst imaginable time'

"Charlotte knows she nearly died," she said.

"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.

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

Her management said that she managed to say to her mother, "I can't believe you have been here all week", and later, "Have you been to the beach?"

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMs Webster spoke to the BBC after arriving in Rio before she became ill

A spokeswoman for the presenter said: "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."

Image copyright Charlie Webster/Twitter
Image caption A message thanking people for their support was posted on Ms Webster's Twitter feed

The former Sky Sports News presenter was admitted to hospital after becoming unwell while watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on August 5.

Doctors initially believed she was dehydrated after the bike ride but her condition deteriorated.

On 9 August she wrote on Twitter: "I'm getting there... awful few days with serious infection #Rio."

Two days later she fell unconscious and was placed into a coma.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Charlie Webster has presented for the BBC, ITV, Sky Sports and Channel 4

The Ride to Rio left the UK on 27 June, with Ms Webster and her colleagues cycling 90 miles a day with only one rest day each week before arriving at the Maracana stadium on 4 August.

It marked the 10th anniversary of a cycle ride undertaken by charity fundraiser Jane Tomlinson before her death.

Mrs Tomlinson was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2000 and died in 2007 after raising almost £2m for charity.


Image copyright Ride to Rio
Image caption The ride finished in time for the Olympic opening ceremony

Charlie Webster

  • Born in Sheffield in 1982 and studied language and linguistics at Newcastle University
  • Worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, model and actress
  • Began her sports broadcasting career working for Real Madrid International TV
  • Became the first live female football presenter in Asia for ESPN and Star Sports in 2006
  • Has since presented for the BBC, ITV, Sky Sports and Channel 4
  • Has campaigned for women's rights specifically in relation to sexual and domestic abuse; in 2014 she revealed she had been abused as a teenager
  • Has undertaken a number of challenges for charity including the London Marathon

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