Former Gladiators star Cobra is seriously ill in hospital with pneumonia

4 April 2019, 11:22

Gladiators star Cobra
Gladiators star Cobra. Picture: Rex/BBC

By Tom Eames

Gladiators star Michael ‘Cobra’ Willson has revealed that he is battling pneumonia in hospital.

Willson has explained how he was first taken to hospital three weeks ago, after battling pneumonia in both lungs, and that he is also suffering from a shoulder injury.

The 55-year-old athlete blamed it on years of tough workouts for the classic ITV show Gladiators.

Where are the Gladiators cast now?

He said: "I’m only half a Gladiator now. It’s been touch and go. I don’t feel like I’m kicking the bucket at the minute, but it will only take another cold or cough and I’m in trouble."

"I’m isolated in my own ward. It goes to show – you never know what’s around the corner," he told The Sun.

Willson became a favourite on the ITV game show in the 1990s, alongside the likes of Wolf, Warrior and Rhino.

In total, he appeared in eight series of Gladiators, from its start in 1992 to its end in 2000. The programme featured four contestants – two men and two women – taking on the 'gladiators' in a series of physical battles.

Willson said he was worried that years of putting his body through intense workouts had finally taken its toll. He explained: "I pushed the limit and listened to silly Arnold Schwarzenegger saying you’ve got to take more pain than your competitors.

"But pain is your body saying: 'Oi, pack it in'. You need to pull back, not push through. But for 20-plus years I was: push, push, push. I would run 10 miles before I’d start my workouts."