BBC Gardeners’ World: Monty Don’s health battle that made him think he was dying

Monty Don is best known for his work presenting Gardeners; World, giving gardening tips to avid viewers year round.

Thousands of budding gardeners watched the show during the pandemic seeking advice from the horticulturist OBE.

Now 66, Monty has hosted the show on BBC 2 for over two decades but he has had to take medical leave on multiple occasions due to serious health scares.

READ MORE: Monty Don reveals wife’s blunt words that made him get help with his mental health

Whilst filming Around the World in 80 Gardens, Monty had a near-death experience with peritonitis.

The potentially fatal illness is an infection of the stomach’s inner lining which covers the bowel, liver, and kidneys.

Speaking to Amateur Gardening magazine, he said: “My wife found me collapsed. If she had not found me I would have died.

“I got into an ambulance at 2am and they stuck morphine into my veins.”

Treatment for the condition can take up to two weeks but Monty eventually made a full recovery.

He also suffered a stroke at a later date.

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One morning in 2008, he awoke with a “funny feeling” but brushed off the anxiety and went for a walk around the grounds of his home in Hertfordshire.

Little did he know, he had suffered a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or ‘mini-stroke’ while he slept.

He spoke to The Guardian about the ordeal in 2009, saying: “I was so exhausted I did not know whether I was coming or going. I remember waking up feeling strange and dizzy.

“I said to my wife Sarah, ‘God, something funny is happening; I may be having a stroke.’ We weren’t thinking: this is a disaster. I said, ‘Hang on, I can move my fingers.’ I remember thinking, ‘Oh, get a grip, you’re fine’.”

“I turned to Sarah and said ‘Hold me because I think I’m dying and, if I am, I want to die in your arms’.

After tests in hospital, he was told he had suffered a TIA, which is usually caused by a blockage in the brain resulting in a disruption to its blood supply.

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Afterwards, he took some time away from the show to recover:

He said to viewers: “I am proud to have led Gardeners’ World for the past five years and have enjoyed every minute of sharing my passion with the programme’s viewers.

“I intend to take some gardening leave for the rest of the summer to make a full recovery and so that I am ready to tackle new projects.”

He is presenting Gardeners’ World at 8.30pm this Friday as normal.

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