Charlie Webster is a former BBC and ITV anchor and current Sky News sports anchor and now on life support after she contracted a deadly form of malaria. The popular host, who has over 76,000 Twitter followers, completed a charity bike tour to Rio de Janeiro just before the Opening Ceremony and previously complained of being ill. The 33-year-old’s condition has taken a turn for the worse and she was put into an induced coma.
Here’s a look at Webster’s condition and her career. Check back for updates.
1. Webster Took Part in a Six-Week Ride to Rio Charity Bike Challenge Just Before the Opening Ceremony
Webster took part in the Ride to Rio bike challenge, which helped raise money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, a foundation named after Jane Tomlinson, a breast cancer victim. On her Twitter page, she frequently posted pictures from the road. Her 3,000-mile journey ended on August 4 when she reached the Christ The Redeemer statue.
Other bikers on the Ride to Rio included Tomlinson’s husband, Mike Tomlinson, and former rugby players Paul Highton and Keith Senior.
2. Webster First Complained About Feeling Ill in a Blog Post on July 6
On July 9, Webster posted on the Road to Rio blog that she was not feeling well while the team was biking in Spain. She said she felt so sick that she was crying while taking to her mother and friend.
I woke up this morning still feeling like I’d been dug up! I’m normally the most smiley, positive person but this morning I struggled to even speak. I managed to force some muesli down me, have a little whimper to Shiv our Ride to Rio team manager and get myself on the bike. I started to peddle and we started downhill which helped as we’d climbed the mountain the night before doing an extra 5 miles to get ahead. I was pretty grateful for that. I decided to do my best to convince myself I was ok and really take care of my hydration and food – and gulped a few paracetamol’s down!
It’s not clear if that illness had anything to do with her current condition. In the pictures she posted on August 4, she looked healthy and happy.
3. Her Agent Says She Contracted a ‘Rare Strain’ of Malaria
Sky told the BBC that the Sheffield native’s agent confirmed that she contracted a rare strain of malaria. A friend told The Sun that she is fighting for her life. The Sun’s story was later tweeted by Webster’s team.
“Charlie is battling for survival at the moment – everyone is distraught,” the friend told The Sun. “But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.”
The friend continued, “The doctors have now identified the very rare malaria strain she has contracted so she is receiving the right treatment in Rio, with advice being provided by the London School of Tropical Medicine.”
Her team also posted a statement on Twitter, writing that she has been sick since August 6 and was admitted to the hospital. At first, she thought it was dehydration.
4. She Was a Celebrity Runner at the 2014 London Marathon & Took Part in the 2013 London Triathlon
Webster has always been up for a challenge, taking part in a recent triathlon and marathon in London. In 2013, she took part in the London Triathlon and continued practicing after suffering an injury.
“For the past six months I have been suffering from an injury and so, prior to the camp, whenever I ran I was anticipating pain,” Webster told the Daily Mail in 2013. “However, being out there made a huge difference, changing my mindset and giving me a new found belief in my body’s abilities. Up until four months ago I couldn’t even swim five metres without choking but at the training camp I managed to swim 2.4km in open water which was a huge milestone and achievement for me.”
5. Webster Is an Ambassador for Skechers & Had a Modeling Career Before Going Into TV
Before Webster began her broadcasting career, she was a model. Although she doesn’t do it as often any longer, she is still an ambassador for Sketchers. When she ran the Houston Marathon, she did a photoshoot for the company.
Webster was going to be part of Sky News’ coverage of Team Great Britain in Rio. According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s been working at Sky Sports since March 2009. She was at ITV in 2008 and 2009 and also worked at the BBC in 2009. In 2006 and 2007, she worked for ESPN STAR Sports. She graduated from Newcastle University.