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Bob Mortimer health problems from Gone Fishing star’s childhood illness to major surgery

Bob Mortimer is loved by the nation for being an amazingly funny guy. But with the fun also comes the seriousness of his health – which actually helped kickstart the idea for Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.

The 64-year-old TV star has had a series of ailments following his long career. From a triple heart bypass – with his arteries were ’95 per cent clogged’ to a battle keeping a condition diagnosed in childhood under control.

It was only in September last year when Bob was filming his beloved fishing show with Paul Whitehouse when he was rushed to hospital after two-and-a-half days of filming. He had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in childhood – but it came back to haunt him. Speaking at the time, he said: “I have been free of it since I have been 34 and it came back 10 days ago. It is really sad for me to know whether it will go. Yes I might be fat but actually, I am on steroids.”

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Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing returned last week to huge plaudits to the bromance. The series itself even came about as a method of recuperation following his triple heart bypass surgery in 2015.

Bob spoke about his health to The One Show host Roman Kemp last week. He said: “Yeah I wasn’t very well. I’m never very well. It’s been a long time since I was very well. So Paul took me fishing to get me out the doldrums after heart operations. And that’s how it all started.

“He was very vulnerable at the time and I thought ‘I could manipulate this into a show’,’” Paul Whitehouse joked. “You think I’m joking, don’t you? Look at the dead eyes.”

Bob Mortimer’s health battles

Bob received scary news ahead of his scheduled Reeves and Mortimer 25 years tour set to go on the road in November 2015. Bob stated he had felt tired and experienced sharp pain below his left ribcage, so he decided to check with his GP.

He said he was “breathless when he went to the top of the stairs or if he played football with his sons he couldn’t last very long” but he claimed he just put it down to age. In October 2015, Bob underwent triple bypass surgery, after being informed that several of his arteries were between 95 to 98 per cent blocked. He later revealed on Gone Fishing that his weight gain had also contributed to a higher risk of cancer.

“We looked into it because we wondered a little bit, but it was true 22 cancers come onto the table if, as a fella, your waist is over 102cm,” he told his co-star Paul Whitehouse. The day of his bypass operation, the beloved comedian married his long-term girlfriend Lisa Matthews.

Bob Mortimer presents the award for “Best Entertainment Production” at the Audio & Radio Industry Awards at First Direct Arena Leeds on October 19, 2016
(Image: Getty)

He told The Guardian: “I got married at a registry office, at 9am in the morning, and was crying during the ceremony. I had to be at hospital at 10.30 for my heart op, so we had time to go for a great big café fry-up, meant to be my last, although it hasn’t been, if truth be known.”

Bob rose to fame in 1986 after teaming up with Yorkshire-born star Vic Reeves. They created various characters for Vic Reeves Big Night Out and the Bob has been a household name ever since.

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series six is available on BBC iPlayer.

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