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Blessed withdraws after collapse

Veteran actor Brian Blessed has withdrawn from a production of King Lear just over a week after collapsing on stage.

The booming-voiced 78-year-old initially continued with the show, in which he took the title role, after his collapse, but his agent said he was now withdrawing on medical advice.

He said: " "Mr Blessed's heart condition is more serious than he was aware. On the advice of his specialist, and with a broken heart, Brian has therefore been compelled to withdraw from the production of which he is so proud. He is immensely grateful for the support he has received from The Guildford Shakespeare Company. Mr Blessed will be making no further comment at this time."

Blessed, whose career stretches back six decades, will be replaced in the role by Terence Wilton.

After his initial collapse, he returned to the stage after a 20-minute break telling the audience in Guildford: " I feel such an idiot and am not in the habit of doing this, but I have a little fibrillation."

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