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Smokey Robinson is detailing his battle with the coronavirus he says almost took his own life after being hospitalized in December.

The 81-year-old Motown legend told daily Match That his battle with COVID-19 was “touch and go” and he wasn’t sure he’d ever sing again after the virus. [his] voice” for a mantra.


“I am a COVID survivor,” Robinson said. “I got it severe and I was hospitalized for 11 days – and I can’t even remember four or five of them. It was really touch and go and a very debilitating illness.”

The Grammy winner said he has almost made a full recovery, but reported that he ended up with a cold around Christmastime and the first coronavirus test came back negative. Robinson said he began to feel worse and took a second test that confirmed a positive case and went to his guest house to reduce the possible spread and exposure to his wife.

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However, Robinson’s condition worsened and he soon started having trouble breathing.

“It was over, man,” he said. “They had to take me to the hospital.”

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The virus “erased me,” he said, “I lost all my energy and couldn’t walk from bed to the bathroom without getting tired.”

Robinson recalled his attempts to regain his singing voice as “one of the most frightening fights I’ve ever had”, especially given that he could barely talk.

Thankfully, Robinson said he never needed to be put on a ventilator and added that his doctors told him his outcome could have been much worse for his impeccable physical fitness at age 81.

“It sounds weird, I know, but the seriousness of my condition didn’t hit me until it was over,” he said. “I looked back and knew I could die… It was so serious. Then it scared me.”

During his first performance after surviving a poor result, Robinson stated that he was only able to sing for 40 minutes, but has since been able to rock for two hours of shows.

“Now I workout almost every day because I don’t want to get the virus again, even if I have both of my shots,” he said.