Eric Bristow’s partner believes the late darts legend’s appearance on I’m A Celebrity had a “massive effect” on his health.
Bex Gadd says she now fears for 71-year-old Harry Redknapp, who is bookies’ fave to be King of the Jungle.
Bex, who lost Eric to a heart attack in April, aged 60, believes he was “never the same again” after spending 22 days in the jungle in 2012.
At the time Eric, known as The Crafty Cockney, spoke at length about how much he enjoyed his stint Down Under, saying: “I enjoyed my time there – you certainly find out a lot about yourself.”
But Bex claims: “It changed him for ever. The Eric that went in the jungle was not the same Eric that came out, unfortunately.
Bex Gadd lost Eric to a heart attack in April
(Image: Roland Leon/Daily Mirror)
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"It did make him poorly and a much frailer person. Muscles that he did have, never came back.
“The effects of being in the jungle took a massive toll on Eric’s health. I don’t think he ever fully recovered from it. I do worry about Harry given he is in his 70s.”
Bex revealed Eric, who would regularly down 15 pints of Guinness in a session and “never played darts sober”, lost four stone between signing up for the series and coming out in 4th place.
“He lost two stone before he went in because he gave up alcohol to prove to the producers that he was not alcohol-dependent,” she said.
“Then he lost another two stone in the jungle. Four stone in literally a couple a months is far too much.
Eric Bristow on the show in 2012
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“The total detox of going into I’m A Celebrity and then coming out didn’t do his body any good at all. Eric was really poorly when he came out.”
Despite reportedly making him frailer, Bex says his jungle stint played no part in his tragic death. Eric collapsed minutes after hosting a VIP meet-and-greet event at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, six years after his jungle appearance.
“It was literally a heart attack,” said Bex, 40. “It wasn’t anything to do with what happened in Australia. There was a small clot in Eric’s heart valve and he was dead before he hit the floor.”
But she said his health did suffer in the wake of the jungle stint, adding: “He felt poorly at dart player James Wade’s wedding and we took him off to hospital.
“That was not long after the jungle. Obviously we can’t say for certain that it was because of the jungle but I don’t think it’s a coincidence.”
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Bex said it “took ages for Eric to be able to eat properly again”. She added: “What you see them eat in the jungle is literally all they get, so the stomach shrinks. He was just drinking boiled water, there was no caffeine or sugar. It’s a big worry for the ones who are not fit, young and healthy.
“They lose so much weight so fast. Eric did not regret going in. He loved every minute and made some amazing friends.”
Bex revealed discussions are under way for a film or mini-series on Eric’s life story.
She said: “There is quite a bit of interest, so hopefully something comes out of it. It might be like the Barbara Windsor and Cilla Black ones that were on recently.
“I can’t even begin to imagine who would play Eric. It would have to be someone with a very strong character.”
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Last night a TV source said: “Campmates’ health is a priority. We would obviously keep in touch and monitor anybody that had an issues in the jungle.”
The source added: “Yes, Harry has lost a bit of weight but he is doing fine as millions of viewers can see.”
Another insider also questioned the comparison between Eric and Harry.
“Harry and Eric’s lifestyle were very different,” they said.
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Tearful Harry Redknapp throws his arms around beloved wife Sandra as she makes a surprise visit to the camp.
The former football manager was overjoyed to find her sitting on a log waiting for him as he wandered over to Snake Rock.
Harry said: “It’s like being in prison and you’ve given me a prison visit. I’m not going to let you go, you’re not going anywhere. You can come in my hammock!” Sandra then told him it was “not long now” until the show finished.
The 71-year-old said: “I’ve been married to Harry 50 years and not being able to speak to him has been a bit of a nightmare because we speak every day.”
The other stars also enjoyed reunions with loved ones too. Fleur East met her sister Keisha, Emily Atack got time with mum Kate, John Barrowman saw hubby Scott and James McVey was surprised by girlfriend Kirstie.
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