British pop star Cheryl Cole was reportedly "hours from death" in her battle with malaria - and is still drifting in and out of consciousness, a week after her diagnosis.
The Girls Aloud singer was admitted to University College London Hospital (UCLH) and diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease last weekend after collapsing at a photoshoot. She is believed to have contracted the mosquito-borne illness during a trip to Tanzania last month.
She was treated in the specialist unit for tropical diseases, where her condition was said to be "a lot more serious" than doctors initially thought - and an insider tells Britain's News of the World that Cole almost died after she was rushed into expert care.
A source tells the publication, "It got so bad she was literally only hours from death's door. Thank goodness she was diagnosed in time.
"Even now she can't talk. She drifts in and out of consciousness and when she comes round all she can do is sob.
"There was no news coming out of the hospital because it was all so touch and go. We couldn't give any assurances to fans because there weren't any to give.
"The fact is, we came close to losing someone very special. She can't even speak at the moment and doesn't know what's happening to her. All she can do is sob. It's terrifying." The singer, who turned 27 on June 30, has been moved out of the hospital's intensive care unit - but is still facing tough times.
The insider adds, "She's not out of the woods yet. We nearly lost her and the battle is far from over. She is so weak and this horrible illness has taken complete hold of her.. there's no end in sight. It's still a very serious situation and she's really going to have to battle."
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