I’m A Celeb star Mo Farah’s desperate heartbreak after twin went missing for 12 years
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As a child growing up in the scorching African country of Djibouti, Mo Farah's twin brother Hassan was his best friend, confidante and ally.
But when the family moved to London to be where his father studied and worked, their lives were torn apart by a tragic chain of events.
When Hassan fell ill shortly before they were due to depart, it didn't appear to be a big deal. The flights for the family of five had cost too much to cancel so it was decided that Hassan would stay behind to recover and join them later.
And so while Hassan remained with extended family, I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here star Mo, his mum and his other brothers Ahmed and Wahib flew to London to start a new life in Hounslow.
Mo Farah with his twin brother Hassan
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"I was consoled by the fact that we wouldn’t be away from each other for very long – a couple of months perhaps," Mo wrote in his 2013 autobiography, Twin Ambitions: My Autography.
He continued: "Had I known how many years would pass before I’d see him again, I would have been heartbroken. But as far as I knew, Hassan falling ill was a temporary hitch.
"At least, that’s what I thought."
Mo Farah aged 11
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But when their father returned to Djibouti to collect Hassan, he was nowhere to be found.
For two weeks he scoured the country looking for his son before being forced to return empty handed to get back to work and feed the family.
Mo, then aged just eight, was distraught and said the loss contributed to the fracturing of his relationship with his dad and the eventual collapse of his parents' marriage.
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He wrote: "As a young kid, and not understanding the situation fully, I blamed my dad for not bringing Hassan back with him. In my mind, he was responsible for why I wasn’t reunited with my brother. I began to resent my dad. I missed Hassan daily.
"Years later, I discovered that when dad had arrived in Djibouti, Hassan was nowhere to be found. The extended family he’d been staying with had left the city. Dad just wasn’t able to locate him."
Once she had saved enough money – which took years – his mother flew back to Djibouti where she went door-to-door on foot through village after village, desperately searching for information.
Hassan Farah, identical twin brother of Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, in the market in his home town of Hergeisa in Somaliland
(Image: John McLellan)
She finally learned that the extended family had moved to Somaliland just before his dad arrived to collect Hassan.
She and her long-lost son were quickly reunited but it would be another nine years before Mo would see his brother again.
In 2003 Mo managed to scrape together the £500 needed for a flight to Djibouti City to attend Hassan's wedding.
And the moment he landed, his beloved twin was waiting for him and the "void in my life was gone," he said.
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"I got off the aircraft and looked around. All I remember is Hassan coming up to me, giving me a big hug and a kiss on my cheek and saying, ‘My brother, my brother, my brother!’" Mo wrote.
"Twelve years is a long time to be away from someone you love. It’s hard to describe the joy of that moment.
"It felt like a part of me had been missing the whole time I had been growing up separately from Hassan. The way I see it is, we’re not different people – we’re part of the same person. At last, the void in my life was gone."
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* I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here stars Sunday, November 15 at 9pm on ITV.