Smokey Robinson nearly died after contracting coronavirus.
The 81-year-old singer spent 11 days in acute care in a Los Angeles hospital last December and even after he pulled through the worst, the ‘Tears of a Clown’ hitmaker feared he would never sing again.
He told DailyMail.com: “I am a Covid survivor.
“I got it severely and I was hospitalised for 11 days, and four or five of those I do not even remember.
“It really was touch and go and a terribly debilitating ailment.
“I was not sure that I would ever be able to sing again because it took my voice. I could barely even talk.
“Even when I got home I was hoarse, I could not try to sing because I was afraid. It was one of the most frightening fights I have ever had.
“I had to work on my vocal cords and get myself back together. I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life, and it was possible, so I did it.”
Smokey’s doctors told him he was “lucky” to have survived, and credited him pulling through to the fact he stays fit and active.
He added: “They told me that it was lucky for me especially at my age that I’d taken care of myself; but for the grace of God and that fact I probably would not be here talking right now.”
And the ‘Tracks of My Tears’ singer admitted it was only after he’d recovered and left hospital that he fully realised how “severe” things had been.
He said: “None of this really scared me until after I came home.
“When I was there trying to get well while weak I never thought about dying. I was thinking I am going to get well.
“I looked back and knew that I could’ve died, because it was that severe. Then it scared me.
“It sounds weird I know, but the severity of my condition didn’t hit me until it was over.”
Smokey has become even more committed to staying fit as a result of his ordeal because he doesn’t want to find himself in a similar position again.
He said: “Before I got the virus I would work out two or three times a week. I have been doing yoga, stretching and positions for 40 years.
“Now I work out almost every day, because I don’t want to get the virus again even though I’ve had both of my shots.
“I lift weights and work out. I don’t run as I had surgery on both knees, but I do walk. I stay active as I don’t want to be decrepit.”
And the Miracles frontman has been working on his voice too, building up to longer and longer performances.
He said: “I had to work on my voice as well as my phyal self and get myself together.
“The first gig I did was a private event for a hospital in Texas, but we only did forty minutes. Usually I do two or two and half hours.
“I got through that, which was psychologically a help. Then I did another at 60 minutes. It went well, felt good and I’m not afraid anymore. I have done three full blown concerts and am back 95 per cent.”