Charlie Webster: Sportscaster nearly dies from malaria after 3K-mile bike ride to Rio Olympics

Charlie Webster is shown in the Rio de Janeiro hospital before she was put into a medically induced coma. Twitter

British sports presenter Charlie Webster has just been taken out of a medically induced coma in a Rio de Janeiro hospital after she contracted a “rare” strain of malaria.

Webster, 33, who works for TV networks Sky and ITV, was hospitalized after she rode a bicycle 3,000 miles from London, England to the Rio Olympics for charity. She arrived in Brazil on Aug. 4.

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She documented her long journey on social media, using the hashtag #RidetoRio.

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Webster revealed earlier this month on Twitter that she had been diagnosed with a “severe complication caused by a bacterial infection” and was receiving treatment.

But this week, her management team confirmed she was put in a coma by attending physicians, and is battling malaria.

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“Charlie is battling for survival at the moment – everyone is distraught,” said Webster’s friend to U.K.’s The Sun. “But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.”

Shortly after the Rio Olympics opening ceremony on Aug. 5 (and a mere 24 hours after she took the Instagram photo), Webster began to feel unwell.

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Believing it was just dehydration after cycling for six weeks, Webster’s condition quickly deteriorated after her arrival at the hospital. Doctors placed her “on life support” to ease her battling body.

Sky News reporter Richard Suchet verified that they took Webster out of the coma on Thursday afternoon (EST).

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Suchet also confirmed that Webster’s kidneys aren’t functioning normally and she remains on dialysis. She is currently in intensive care, and is with her mother and brother, who flew from the U.K. to be with her.

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“Charlotte [Charlie] knows she nearly died, she mouthed to me earlier ‘Look at all the machines keeping me alive,'” said Webster’s mother to Suchet. “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 that Charlotte is now conscious is amazing. Knowing Charlotte, the thing she’ll be most annoyed about is that she’s missed the Olympics.”
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Doctors now have Webster’s full bike route to Rio, and are trying to determine where she may have contracted such a severe strain of malaria.

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