Gladiators Star Michael Willson, Best Known As Cobra, Reveals He's Seriously Ill In Hospital

"I'm only half a Gladiator now."

Former Gladiators star Michael Willson, known on the show as Cobra, has revealed he is seriously ill and in hospital.

Michael told The Sun that he was taken to hospital three weeks ago with pneumonia in both lungs.

Michael pictured in 2008
Michael pictured in 2008

Commenting he felt like “half a Gladiator”, Michael explained: “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 also suggested that pushing himself too hard in his workout routines over the years contributed to his ill health, adding: “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.”

Michael (far left) with his Gladiators co-stars in the 1990s
Michael (far left) with his Gladiators co-stars in the 1990s

As Cobra, Michael appeared in eight series of the popular Saturday night ITV show, from 1992 until it left our screens in 2000.

Gladiators saw two amateur contestants competing against two of the show’s resident team of Gladiators in a string of tough physical challenges, culminating in an intense obstacle course, known as the Eliminator.

Eight years after it was first axed, Sky One revived Gladiators in 2008, though their version aired for just two series, after which it was cancelled.


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