The Strictly star feared he wouldn't see his daughters grow up

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Ben Cohen has revealed how he was just DAYS away from death one week before his youngest daughter’s birthday after being rushed to hospital with a potentially lethal condition.

The former rugby player had visited his GP with severe chest pains where the doctor quickly realised that something was ‘seriously wrong’ and sent him to hospital, a move that saved his life as it was discovered that he had a serious illness.

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Ben, 38, was diagnosed with glandular fever, pericarditis and sepsis, meaning he had a swelling of the fluid sack around the heart.

‘They told me if I hadn’t gone into hospital when I did I would have been dead within a few days because it was causing an infection in my blood stream,’ the Strictly Come Dancing star explains.

The news left Ben fearing that he wouldn’t get to be there for his three children in the future.

‘It’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me,’ he tells OK! magazine. ‘I was in hospital for four days and the whole time I was beside myself worry that I might not be around to watch my daughters grow up.

’It’s funny, when you’re told you have a life-threatening illness all you can think about are the people you love.’

Ben had partner Kristina Rihanoff by his side throughout the ordeal and was home in time to celebrate the first birthday of their daughter Mila. The former sports star also has twin daughters Harriet and Isabelle, 9, from his marriage to ex-wife Abby.

Thankfully all seems well now but Ben admits the seriousness of what happened hit him hard when he returned home.

‘When I eventually got home, I bawled my eyes out – it hit me how scary the whole situation had been,’ he says.

Ben was able to enjoy Mila’s big day and it sounds like he and Kristina – who met when they were partnered on Strictly in 2013 – are loving family life more than ever.

‘Motherhood is harder than I ever thought it would be but also more rewarding,’ explains Kristina, 39. ‘Life is all about Mila now – everything we want to achieve is with our children in mind.’