Belfast Telegraph

Former Gladiators star Cobra reveals he is seriously ill in hospital

Michael Willson found fame after appearing on the hit 90s TV show.

Cobra, left, starred on Gladiators in the 90s (PA Archive/PA Images)
Cobra, left, starred on Gladiators in the 90s (PA Archive/PA Images)

Former star of Gladiators Michael “Cobra” Willson has said he is seriously ill in hospital after putting his body through years of punishing workouts.

Willson, who made his name on the popular 90s TV show, told The Sun Online he ended up in hospital three weeks ago after battling pneumonia in both lungs.

The 55-year-old, who starred on Gladiators alongside the likes of Wolf, Warrior and Rhino, also said he suffered a shoulder injury leaving him unable to raise his arm.

Cobra, back left, starred in Gladiators from 1992 to 2000 (LWT/PA)

He said: “I’m only half a Gladiator now. 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.”

Willson, who lives in St Mary’s Bay, Kent, appeared in eight series of Gladiators, from its inception in 1992 to its end in 2000.

The programme saw four contestants – two men and two women – taking on the gladiators in a number of physical tests with the aim of making it to the grand final and being named champion of the series.

Willson said he feared years of putting his body through tough workouts had taken their toll on his health.

He explained: “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.”



From Belfast Telegraph