The TV star became ill after a charity bike ride

TV presenter Charlie Webster is in a serious condition in a Brazilian hospital after being struck down by a rare strain of malaria.

The former Sky Sports host, 33, became unwell after completing a six-week charity bike ride from London to Rio, where she was set to work as one of Team GB’s official presenting team at the 2016 Olympics.

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Charlie seemed in good spirits at the opening ceremony on 5 August but was admitted to hospital afterwards, with doctors initially believing she was dehydrated from her 3,000 mile cycling challenge.

Her condition worsened though and she is now in an induced coma. Charlie’s mother, brother and manager have flown out to be by her side.

‘Charlie is battling for survival at the moment – everyone is distraught,’ a friend says.

‘But she is so strong and a very fit and healthy person in general so we have to keep positive.

‘The doctors have now identified the very rare malaria strain she has contracted so she is receiving the right treatment in Rio, with advice being provided by the London School of Tropical Medicine.’

Charlie had initially been giving updates on her illness when she first became unwell and posted photos from the hospital where she was receiving treatment.

On 7 August she told her fans: ‘6 weeks on the road ends in this. Severe dehydration & infection – 2 drips & antibiotics!

‘It’s not been the best day. I have to say though the Sao Lucas hospital in Rio were amazing & really looked after me #Rio’

She also posted an update a few days later with a picture of her in her bed.

‘I’m getting there…awful few days with serious infection,’ the presenter wrote.

I'm getting there…awful few days with serious infection.

A post shared by Charlie Webster (@charliewebster) on

Charlie soon stopped posting things though and a message was shared by her team on 11 August explaining she’d been suffering with a ‘severe complication caused by a bacterial infection’.

A message about Charlie.

A post shared by Charlie Webster (@charliewebster) on

It’s unclear how the sports host contracted the illness.

‘Charlie and the Ride to Rio charity team were told that malaria wasn’t a risk,’ a friend tells The Sun. ‘So the doctors are trying to work out where she could have contracted it from.’

Over the years Charlie has become a familiar face to sports fans, having presented on Sky Sports News as well as the likes of Good Morning Britain, ESPN and Eurosport.

She also hit the headlines when she started dating Downton Abbey star Allen Leech. The relationship ended late last year.

Here at Now we send our love and best wishes to Charlie and her family, and hope she has a speedy recovery.

Anna Francis