Sunday, 31 October 2010


I was born in Belgium on the 28th of June 1963 and grew up in Belgium, South Africa, Canada, Florida, Chile and I am now living in Kent, England.

I played Professional Rugby in South Africa for most of my life and after retiring I was offered a lucrative modelling contract to model all over the world. I also acted and did stunt work on a few Hollywood films over the next ten years.

I then moved to Santiago, Chile to be near my beautiful sister, Nathalie who I missed dearly. I signed up with the top modelling agency and started modelling in South America and then I got a role on a TV show as the bad guy of course, and here I met the lead actress, fell in love and got married. Three months later...

"It felt like someone had just stabbed me
through the heart"

On July 13th 1997, I was cooking dinner in our house, when all of a sudden; it felt as if someone had just stabbed me through the heart with a huge knife.

I had never felt such pain before and collapsed on the kitchen floor. I called for my wife who came running into the kitchen and I told her to call an ambulance as I thought I was having a heart attack. She thought I was kidding and went back to bed.

Three hours later she woke up, panicking because I was not in bed next to her, and ran into the kitchen and found me ice cold with no pulse on the floor, she thought I was dead. She finally called the police saying “My husband has just died on my kitchen floor”. They came with an ambulance and they rushed me to hospital.

At the hospital they discovered that I had had a severe heart attack and rushed me into surgery. They opened me up, taking out my ribcage, in which I still have the staples in. They saw that my aorta had exploded in half and had split from my heart all the way down to my legs. The Doctors told my Parents that they had to amputate both my legs because they had died due to the loss of blood flow to them. The reason that all this happened to me, was that I used steroids throughout my rugby career and it caused my blood pressure to go through the roof until my heart basically exploded. The steroids along with the recreational drugs such as cocaine, used in the entertainment industry caused a lethal cocktail, hence my heart attack.

Me, Naas Botha & Alan James
Dallas Harlequins
"The doctors told my parents if I ever
exercised again I could die on the spot"

When they said they wanted to amputate my legs, my Dad responded by saying “if you do that you might as well pull the plug”, as I had been a pro-athlete my entire life and would not cope with losing my legs; which was so very true.

So the surgeons went to work, they cut my legs in eight places and put a by-pass from my right leg to my left leg and flushed the blood through till my right leg came almost back to life but my left leg remained paralyzed. I was told I would never walk again. Every organ in my body had apparently died and I went through dialysis every day for two months.

About a week later I took a turn for the worse and they had to re-operate on my heart again. Apparently the sutures they had put in my aorta were coming apart, so they ended up taking out my aorta and replacing it with a plastic one. At this point they told my parents I would never be allowed to exercise ever again as I now have a plastic aorta and if I exercised my heart would expand and where the aorta joins my heart, it would burst and I would die on the spot. Great to know!!!

Me, in a coma
I was in a coma for a month and twice the doctors told my wife, parents and sister to say goodbye to me because in less than ten minutes I would be dead. They called in a priest. Can you imagine what they went through? Not to mention me. Somehow by some miracle I survived how or why to this day I have no idea and neither do the doctors. They thought I was a miracle, because apparently only 1% of the people that have an aortic dissection survive and that’s with half the severity of mine.

I personally think that I survived because I was so fit and strong before having the heart attack. I also think, God had other plans for me and for that you will have to wait and find out what they are . . .

"Don't ever try and contact me again!"

During my two months in intensive care on total life support systems of all kinds, I was unconscious in a coma for the first month. Coming out of my coma the first thing I remember was seeing my Father holding my hand with tears in his eyes, and I asked him why are you crying to which he replied “we thought we had lost you”. I had never seen my father cry, then I asked where my Wife was and he said “she’s gone, we got a knock on our hotel door, opened the door and there was no-one there just a bag and a note saying don’t ever try and contact me again”. Nice!!!

I have never seen her again to this day.

I also remember seeing some of my friends coming in and out of my room paying their respect etc. Apparently there were over 100 to 200 people waiting to see me every single day. As I have an extremely rare blood type, especially in South America, type O- negative they had to appeal on the radio and TV for foreigners to come and give blood or I would die. Amazingly enough plenty did and I thank each and every one of you for saving my life.

The taxi drivers in Santiago also got together and to each of their fares they gave out a flier asking for them to give blood and ‘Save Spyk’. All of the bars, restaurants and clubs did the same. I have now been told that the doctors told my wife that if I did ever come out of my coma that I would be brain dead, never father a child and I’d be a paraplegic for the rest of my life. She obviously could not handle that, and so left me there in hospital on my own. Well not on my own because I had both my parents there and my so special Sister who gave up her family to be by my side every second that I was in that hospital.

"In 8 weeks I went from weighing 115kg of muscle
to 49kg of skin and bones."

I had no money to pay the hospital bill, so they let me go, with me promising to pay it one day. One of my reasons for writing this book is to pay them back with the proceeds from this story. My wife having left me high and dry so to speak whilst I was still in a coma, my parents had no choice but to fly me back to Europe. I was to spend the next two years in bed recuperating with 24 hour nursing which was also not a cheap option but had to be done.

For this, I thank you mon Papa et ma Maman. I was taken by ambulance to the airport and transported to the plane. They put my mother and I in first class, so we would have more room, the sad thing about that is that was the only time I have had the opportunity to fly first class, and can’t even remember it at all.

Orlando Rugby Club, 1986
My father had flown back, on his own to Belgium where they were living at the time. The ambulance took us to our home in the country, a beautiful farmhouse, in which I spent the next two years in bed. T he nursing was probably the worst part of my recuperation, not being able to move a bone in my body, as I was way too weak.

I actually went from weighing 115kgs of solid muscle to 49kgs of skin and bones in just eight weeks. I was so weak I was unable to feed myself, or get up and go to the toilet. The worst thing was that I had to be fed and bathed every day by perfect strangers. I lay on my back in this bed that my parents had set up in their TV room staring at the ceiling for over two years.

"It took me two and a half years of the most
painful therapy to learn to walk again"

I use to lie there and count every brick on the walls and tiles on the ceiling just to hide the pain. I have also become extremely superstitious with life in general, because when I lay there for two years without moving a bone in my body, in bed having been told I would never walk again or live a normal life.

After a couple years of lying in bed on my back, having been told I would never walk again, one morning I woke up and told myself that I would teach myself to walk again. My parents organized a physiotherapist that would help me achieve this goal. It took me two and a half years of 4 hours a day of the most painful therapy you can imagine, to learn to walk again, but I did it. I mean just to lift myself up was a task and a half and to take one step at a time was bad too.

People have no idea how lucky they are to have full use of their limbs and be able to walk at any time they chose. They take walking for granted. I kept praying every waking second, that I would walk again one day, meet the girl of my dreams and get married again and the most important thing was that I have always wanted a child of my own.

Every second of every waking day over the past eight years I have told myself that I would achieve this. If I went through even an hour of not telling myself all of this I got so worried my life was over. So to this day, I do just that, tell myself all of this. But eight years on, I met a girl on an internet dating site; she fell pregnant, we got married and I am now an extremely proud father of the most beautiful baby girl, called ‘Angelyna’ my very own little Angel.

"Until I held my own flesh and blood in my
hands I had never really lived"

Every night since her birth, I have been up all night changing nappies and wiping dirty bottoms. For me this was a true miracle as I had been told that I would find it very difficult to father a child, due to the entire trauma I had gone through. of this because of the abuse I put my body throughout my life.
I had always thought that I had done everything in life, but until I held my own flesh and blood in my hands, I had never really lived, but now I felt truly alive. An experience in itself

I took months off work as my so called wife went back to work few days after giving birth. I spent every waking moment with Angelyna, bonding with her and holding her tight. So this is what life is all about. However I discovered that My wife had an affair with the builder doing an extension on our house and I left her. She stopped me from seeing my daughter Angelyna for nine months which absolutely crucified me. We were involved in the worst ever divorce and custody battle which I have now won and got my Angelyna back but it was the toughest nine months of my life without her.

In May 2009 my Aorta split in half again and I had to have open heart surgery again; 13 hours worth. I underwent a major heart operation where they replaced my entire aorta 3ft worth and was told I’d have 1 in 10 chance of surviving the operation, but if I did I would be good as new and I actually feel 25 again quite amazing, ain’t life grand.

"I had no choice but to go through it again,
because Angelyna needs her Papa"

I thank God I survived and have been feeling absolutely amazing of late. However Christmas Eve 2009 while on holiday in Florida I suffered a major seizure, where part of my heart valve where my new aorta connects to my heart broke off and blocked the blood flow to my brain. I was rushed to hospital where I was told I’d have to have open heart surgery again which was in February 2010 here in London, and since then I have had more surgery to fix my ribcage which has totally come apart after being cut in half three times. I also have a hernia which I’ve developed in my stomach but they are saying it’s too dangerous to operate on because of all the trauma I’ve been through.

I have had no choice but to go through all this again as Angelyna needs her Papa. Doctors have said though that if I come out of this operation alive I will be stronger than ever and will basically be bionic, well as far as my heart is concerned, and my heart will be indestructible, so that is all good news. I am just not looking forward to another year of recovery and immense pain. I live in faith that all will be ok and I’ll be able to live a normal life again soon.

"if I can make a difference to one person’s
life, I will be one happy man"

The moral of the story is I never ever did anything in my past out of malice to anyone or anything, but I have been extremely irresponsible and reckless to myself.

I loved living on the edge. It made me feel alive. My heart and intentions had always been good. As my closest friend says “if you have a good heart, it all works out for the best”, though it may take a while. Having been so damn close to death has made me so aware of everything around me. I appreciate all of this and I will never as long as I live, take anything or anyone for granted.

Its amazing how people take such things as walking for granted, and for me almost having both my legs amputated, made me realize this. There obviously is a God, looking out for us. When you come from a good family, like I do you can be the badest guy in town, do the craziest, stupidest, most dangerous things and still come out smiling.

I feel this will make a very inspiring story and hopefully help many who have given up on life and if I can make a difference to one person’s life, I will be one happy man.


  1. It is my ultimate dream to get my story published into a book and also be made into a movie as my dream is to make a difference in peoples lives x

  2. I cannot believe you survived what has been enough to practically kill a whole nation ...... Ed you have been given a massive gift and your story must be shared, get the book completed and the Film will undoubtedly follow ....... Every possible strength in the world to you in your goal to make it all happen, and to spend time with the most wonderful gift of all, a beautiful Daughter ... Love Life and Live it, for thats all we have
    Very Best Wishes and Love to You !

  3. Your story needs to be published for the world to read. I am in awe of your inner strength and determination. You are a beautiful person who will inspire millions. I'm glad to say that I read your story before it was a best-selling book and movie!

  4. thank you for sending me the link to your storey.very heart touching.

  5. publish your story will inspire other people 2 keep fighting no matter what x

  6. Dear Edouard,

    I was referred to your story by one of your dear friends. The love and support you have experienced from your parents and friends, the inner and physical strength with which you have been blessed, and your precious daughter, Angelyna - love in it's purest form - have brought you from the brink of death to where you are today.

    May you be as blessed as you tell your story, in it's entirety, as you will bless and help others. I wish for you and your beautiful Angelyna, a life worth living, filled with love.

    Best Wishes,


  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Caz

  8. Touching story..Amazed at your determination!
    Keep the faith


  9. Publish your life mate, you have given me inspiration to see through my dreams by emphasizing the gift of life and how limitless and unconditional it is!
    Thank you big time for sharing

  10. It brought tears to my eyes, and i know it will bring hope to so many people.
    You are an inspiration.
    Sending you lots of love and a big hug xxx

  11. Am happy you believe in God. When i went through some problems earlier in my life. It was God that sent angels to help me. Keep the faith your book or film will become a reality.

  12. What an incredible story you have to tell.
    I admire your commitment to your health and family. All people can learn from that. You clearly live from the heart and thats beautiful in itself. Sha xx

  13. I so much love your story. It's so inspirational, and is truly uplifting. I enjoyed reading it, especially the parts that your life turned out for the better, and that you have a lttle Angel in your life now to love, and for her to love you back...her Papa! Thankyou for sharing this powerful true story of your life with us all. I will share it with others. They will also find it wonderful, and inspiring.

  14. janice

    truly captivating, im honoured to have been invited to read your amazing life story. life is so precious and none of us know our fate, but if you keep the FAITH and BELIEVE that you will receive what you have asked then it will be given unto you. such an inspirational real life account of just simply believing and not giving up hope. so remain strong in your faith you were meant to live to tell the tale.

  15. wow..your story is truly amazing..I hope everything goes well with your sure is something to cherish

  16. Good synopsis where can I read the whole story Or are you still writing it ?

  17. We fall down so we learn how to get up. Spyk, how/when do you realize that its time and you actually can get up? probably a ridiculous question, i supposed the gauge is different for each individual. Great story brother, I am a single dad of three, i am truly inspired. Thank you for writing this down.


  18. Thanks for sharing your story, it's truly inspiring. This experience has made you stronger and the person you are today. God is with you!

    Kina King
    April 11, 2011 7:24 a.m.

  19. Well, what can I say about this that hasn't been said...I can only tell you that even with just this bit right here that I've just read, you are already a truly great inspiration to me personally. I won't get into all the details, but suffice it to say that I suffer, mostly emotional and mental stresses, and there are way too many days when giving up just seems like the least exhausting option...but something keeps me going and standing up, each and every time. And that one thing is definitely God. I lost my first born back in the year 2001; it was the first time in my life that I'd ever turned away from God, in my extreme pain and anger and heart ached like never before, but once again, I came full circle and told God that if I was ever to be ok again, He'd have to take my shattered bits of soul and put me back together...and He most certainly did...and I have my 2 beautiful sons from that pain and that prayer. I very much look forward to reading your whole story, and yes, as many have already does seem to be a story that needs, must be shared. God continue to bless you, always. Hugs! ; ) {Mercurychyld}

  20. Thanks for sharing your amazing story for someone to come out of all that trauma and live to tell the tale then you are a truly special person and a stronger one. I wish you all the luck in the world and a brighter future.


  21. You really are an inspiration to many of us, I'm very touched and as a friend I wish Icould have been one of those to stand by you there and give you hugs,Instead I was blessed to have met you here and I'm so very proud of you and you have a heart/friend for life with me,with much love and respect,wado; my brother with many blessings....

  22. your a hero in your own words i wish you all the luck in the world takecare staysafe bev 6th may 2011 1903

  23. I just sat here with the music playing in the background and read your story out loud to my daughter, Mikaella Lee,8 years old and my dearest friend, Kirby Hamdaoui. This story made us all come to tears I could barely finish reading it. I am so touched by your life journey. I myself have had quite an adventure and believe there truly is a GOD or I would not be alive today. Thank you for sharing this story with us and I will definitely pass this on. With love and gratitude to now know someone as beautiful and real as you. Love to your little angel too.

  24. I have a hard time typing as my vision is blurred by this tale of courage and hope, honesty ..lets face it ! the led Zepplin didn't help!:)

    My dearest one I am inspired by it. I find it amazing, sometimes I am alone and then I find another,on this trail that has never been walked upon..... the outer banks....Bravo...Liane

  25. I am only 15 years old and this story has inspired me I took the time to read through it all even with teary eyes I still carried on, I cant believe that you are such a strong man and even through everything you came out of you still had a smile on your face, so many people do not deserve what they have but this story has made me realise everything you have got deserves the best appreciation because it could be all gone tomrrow, I hope this publishes arond the whole world because you are a hero! I wish you the best! from bree.. :)

  26. The decision we make in life,can so easy kill us and the people we love,are the ones who can hurt us the most.Reading your story makes me feel ashamed of having the feeling,that my life was over,only living for my kids.
    Your story definitely will change my outlook on life.
    Keep smiling and keep strong.
    All my love to you
    Helle XX

  27. Thanks for sharing your amazing story you are a truly special person i wish i had the strength you have shown and i pray the future stays bright for you and your daughter and family so insperasional. I wish you all the luck in the world and a brighter future .

  28. You are an amazing man, I wish you lots and lots of luck x

  29. What more can i say from what you have already been told... Spyk you are an inspiration to All that read your story...All that know you, All those that will know of you, and all those that will learn about you and your Story of life... Carry on being all that you was yesterday, all that you are today and all that you will become...Biggest respect to you and your family...Love and support all the way... Trace xxx

  30. What a story, truly inspirational and very emotional. So many people could learn from this and maybe we should all take a leaf out of Spyks book ! X

  31. l truly believe in eternal life, and believe that throughout our many lives on this earth plain we live as if in a classroom...learning through lifes experiences in order to move forward on our spiritual journey. Edouard you have certainly given yourself a tough time in this classroom! as you said you have been extremely irresponsible and reckless to yourself, but l believe for such a powerful reason.... through your courage, strength and inspiration you will have made such a positive difference to so many lives.You have certainly achieved what you set out to achieve in this lifetime experience.....for this be proud, content and happy as you so deserve to be. Your story is very humbling, and inspires me to appreciate the light more so that shines through for us all....especially you and your little angel....x

  32. A truly amazing story of fortitude and endurance.
    I can only wonder at your inner strength. We all have a story and it's not until we have our eyes and ears opened to anothers story that we truly understand our own trials and tribulations and gain the strength to get up and dust ourselves off.
    Thank you for sharing your particular story with us all.
    Good luck and continuing good health to you.
    God bless.

  33. Aries canyon sneer lasts a century.
    Thunder roll tattoo as Zeus splinters
    The crisp air with light bolts.
    Ensuing rainfall quenches Apollo’s thirst.

    And a new fragile creature is born
    Of fine essence and transparency.
    To inherit the rose and thorn
    Of hope.

  34. A very inspiring story. Never thought of a man will survive all kinds of heart problem like you; physical and emotional heart problems; this is my first time to post a comment in a blog site; I felt I need to thank you for telling me to visit your blog site and I will understand what it is all about that we are talking about for the past few months over the phone....I need to thank you because your story changed my view in life now; not to take for granted anyone or anything around ...

    I will be wishing you all the best with your book launch...hopefully soon :-)

  35. Writing a book and getting it published has, also, been a dream of mine. My life has been a roller coaster, as well. May God provide the way for the publishing of your book. <3
    _MsOzark America

  36. Wow!!! You are truly an amazing man!!! I would love the chance to read your book. You will be in my prayers daily. God is amazing and yes your life is indeed one of His miracles. He obviously has other plans for your life!!! God bless you and keep you strong!!

  37. Im just in shock and amazement of your story ...............I look forward to reading your book very soon.

    Regards & Respect

    Adam 8-)

  38. I am humbled by what you have gone through in your life I hope it inspires others that there is a way forward things can be achieved i hope the books a best seller and i hope they turn it into a film blessings to you and your little girl and God bless them your Mam and Dad xxx Paula xxx

  39. What an amazing story. Truly, God has plans for you, my friend. You are an inspiration to all!

  40. I hope you have a wonderful life with your daughter and find love again oneday. May God bless you and your family. Take care and enjoy life.
    Good luck and thank Gos everyday of your life Sanet de Klerk

  41. What an amazing life story! There is MOST DEFINITELY an ENORMOUS "higher future plan" for you my dear friend! You are going to be an instrument in those Mighty Hands that carried you throughout your entire life thus far! Be strong and always remember that you never were and never will be "alone"...
    Thanks for sharing. You are very, very special!

  42. I have learned the lessokn of taking NOTHING nor anyone for granted, as in a blinking of an eye, it can be taken from me. I am very Spiritual, and judge no other soul. It is not for me to do so, and I am in much admiration that you made it thus far and have no negativity towards others.
    You're learning, as I did, 'the hard way', which is often the best for us 'hard-heads' :) Blessings my friend, upon your path. Live and walk in the LIGHT and you will 'see' more than mere 'eyes' can ... you will see through your heart. Contact me via Skype if you wish me to continue. I'm available, but you told me it was being done by another in L.A. Please, stay in touch, this soul knows it means much. InTheLight, Alice

  43. What a sad story. And Im talking about your choices in partners! I am 47 years old and would make the best partner but am not a hunk so no one ever goes for me! Instead they fall for the hot sexy people that cheat on them.
    Dont make that mistake again. Look for someone that is able to really love you and not you loving their hotness

  44. I read it touch my heart thank you for the link.

  45. Amazing what we can survive!


  47. Lucia McLaughlin8 July 2011 at 11:00

    I wish you every luck in your endevours. An inspirational story that should be told world wide.

  48. This is def from the heart not many things bring tears to my eyes but you my friend have done this,all ican say is .The best changes often start as single, simple thoughts. Think big, and discover how to make your dreams real.

    Good Luck

    Donna xx

  49. Just one word........Amazing x

  50. I found this link on a friends FB Page, I am so glad i clicked on it and continued to read.
    Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. Wishing you good luck for your future recovery, health and happiness.

  51. Truely amazing story... Melly xxxx

  52. Your story is truly amazing. Everything that God allows to come our way is with a purpose. He uses even the greatest error and deepest hurt to mold us into a person of worth and value. Be blessed!

  53. As a nurse in an emergency department a lot of survival scenes I see everyday on duty and more than medicine sometimes miracles happen...God is the ultimate decider if we still need to be around inspite of our condition...

  54. Really compelling and inspirational. The only way we learn what it is to be human is through stories shared. Definite movie and book material. Wish you all the very best!

  55. it is so so amazing!!! Life is hard, but life is every thing and valuable.

  56. What a wonderful life story...brings tears to our eyes....wish that people who have problems could understand how important it is to have limbs and live......wish those who try and top themselves could understand that too instead of self inflicting pain on themselves and causing their own agony....your alive because your meant to be and this was meant to be told....God Bless

  57. Impressive story and your a fighter and that marks had a long path to go and still your walking right now on that path and it sounds your a helpfull one.
    I read it and feel the strenght in you, you never give up and indeed there was a miracle but we all need sometimes a miracle and it came at time by you and after that you were fighting harder.
    Your life change alot and now you follow your path you has to follow and with dignity and pride.....thats very good and you can do it...after what I was reading you will find your way.....

  58. What an amazing story, please do publish your story i would love 2 hear more, thank you 4 sharing it with us all, may God bless you and keep you safe.

  59. Wow Spyk x Thank You For Being So Honset & Open & Telling Everyone Your Story,& Wow You've Been Through So Very Much My Friend & i Pray Your Over All Your Worst Days Now & Just Looking Forward & Enjoying Life With Your Daughter & Family, Am Amazed Really,& Very Happy To Have Become Your Friend On FB,& To Read Your Lifes Story, Thank You Again, Much Love,& God Bless You Spyk, Haze Hughes-Beltagy :D xXx

  60. Wow amazing story. God is with you and you have work to finish. What is the master plan for your life? I can't wait to order the book.

    God bless,

  61. A lot of good reading and I willget ur book asap...You are one tuff COOKIE <3 <3 Norma Jean

  62. Thank you for sharing your story, very inspiring I do hope and pray all is well with you and your daughter and your wonderful Mother and Father. May God always hold you close to his heart as he has done with you. You must be very special to have survived all that you have gone through. God Bless you and your family.

  63. Such a beautiful and inspiring story and one that hits close to home for me. God is not finished yet. May the face of God shine down upon you and your family and wrap each of you in the fullness of His love.

    In love and blessings,

  64. GOD was with you the entire time so now you can do to others the greatest of sharing your story. It has so touched my life also as my son went through a aortic valve dissection and is doing fine 3 years later. GOD BLESS YOU, Diane ( California USA)

  65. just signed up to follow you brother.. have a great week.. ♥


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