Former X-Factor star Chico: I thought I was going to die

Former X Factor contestant Chico feared he would die alone in a car park after suffering a stroke while driving home from his job as a fitness instructor.

Chico on stage
Chico on stage

The 47-year-old - who appeared in the 2005 series of the TV talent show and later released a number one single, It's Chico Time - had a 0.8in (2cm) clot on his brain, according to the Sun.

Chico - full name Chico Slimani - was driving to his home in north London from a fitness class in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, on September 15 when he fell ill and pulled over before vomiting and passing out.

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He told the newspaper: "There was no sense of Chico. I was having a near-death experience. It was like I'm dying. I thought I was just about to take my last breath.

"I thought 'I'm parked in a car, without anyone around me, and I'm going to die alone'.

"The expression when your life flashes in front of you - it was like that. Like I was reaching this near-death experience. Time itself vanishes.

"I found myself saying in my mind 'I'm 47, and I really don't want to go because I don't feel I've accomplished what I came here to do'."

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Chico managed to drive home and the next day held another fitness class, despite losing control of his left hand and struggling with his speech.

Twenty-four hours later he went to Barnet Hospital, where doctors confirmed he had had a stroke.

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The father-of-two is now recovering at home and described himself as "a living, walking, talking miracle" after regaining 90% of his speech.

As well as reaching the quarter-finals of the 2005 series of The X Factor with his memorable performances, Chico later took part in Dancing On Ice.