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Charlie Webster fighting for her life

Charlie Webster fighting for her life

Charlie Webster is fighting for her life in Brazil after contracting a rare strain of malaria.

The former Sky Sports News presenter - who previously dated 'Downton Abbey' star Allen Leech - is on life support in a Rio de Janeiro hospital after contracting the disease while travelling to the Olympic Games.

A friend told The Sun newspaper: "Charlie is battling for survival at the moment - everyone is distraught.

"But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.

"The doctors have now identified the very rare malaria strain she has contracted so she is receiving the right treatment in Rio, with advice being provided by the London School of Tropical Medicine."

The 33-year-old star cycled 3,000 miles to Rio in a charity bike ride, which started in London and went through France, Spain and Portugal before she flew to north Brazil and rode to Rio in time for the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday August 5, one day after she arrived in the city.

A pal said: "She had checked the medical risks and been told she didn't need to take anti malaria drugs because of where she was travelling.

"Charlie started vomiting at the ceremony and thought it was dehydration and general fatigue from the cycle.

"In the early hours after the ceremony she went to hospital and was treated for dehydration."

Last week, she shared posts on social media saying she had a "serious infection" but her condition got worse as her kidneys stopped functioning and she was having difficulty breathing.

Her friend added: "Last Friday, Charlie was put into an induced coma. She remains in an induced coma and is on life support."

The brunette's immediate family have flown to Rio to be by her bedside.

Charlie - who has appeared as a sports expert on 'Good Morning Britain' - and Allen split in December to focus on their careers.

She is in Rio to be one of the official presenters for Team GB.