In his first interview about the terrifying ordeal, Chico revealed he feared for his life throughout, joking to The Sun that he “literally thought it was Chico’s time”.
He told the newspaper that he was at the wheel of his car when he knew something wasn’t right, and pulled over alongside a nearby pub.
Chico said: “I was in a bad way. I was far from OK. 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.”
The following day, still experiencing symptoms, he led a fitness class at Butlins, and it was only after this that his wife took him to Barnet Hospital, where he underwent various tests and discovered he’d had a stroke.
Chico noted that because of his physical fitness - which he says doctors have credited with pulling him through the ordeal - a stroke was the “furthest thing from his mind”.
“Most people presume it’s an old person’s illness, you have to be a drinker or a smoker,” he added. “I’m living proof that, no, you don’t have to be that.
“Now I am a living, walking, talking miracle so I can say to you, ’look I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I’ve had a near-death experience, but this is what you can do to prevent it and this is what we’re going to do from now on to inspire a whole new generation to think right, do right, be right and it’s alright.”
Chico is best known for his involvement in the second series of ‘The X Factor’ in 2005, where he made it through to live shows.
Eventually finishing in fifth place, he became known for his novelty appeal, and became the first ever ‘X Factor’ contestant to sing an original track on the show, when he performed ‘It’s Chico Time’.
The song was released a single two months after the series came to an end, toppling Madonna’s ‘Sorry’ from the top of the UK charts. He later released a cover of Boney M’s ‘D.I.S.C.O.’.
Chico went on to release a number of charity singles, including ‘Curvy Coca Cola Body’, profits from which were donated to the eating disorders charity Beat, and a football-themed cover of ‘It’s Chico Time’, which helped the Rainbow Child Foundation.
He later made appearances in Ricky Gervais’ ‘Extras’, playing himself in a fictional ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ house, and took part in the 2012 series of ‘Dancing On Ice’, eventually finishing in third place.