Smokey Robinson details ‘debilitating’ COVID bout: ‘One of the most frightening fights I’ve ever had’


Smokey Robinson is detailing his bout with coronavirus that, he says, nearly took his life after he was hospitalized in December.

The Motown legend, 81, told the Daily Mail that his battle with COVID-19 was “touch and go” and that he wasn’t sure he would ever sing again after the virus “took [his] voice” for a spell.

“I am a COVID survivor,” Robinson said. “I got it severely and I was hospitalized for 11 days — and four or five of those I do not even remember. It really was touch and go and a terribly debilitating ailment.”

The Grammy winner said he is nearly fully recovered but went on to explain that he ended up coming down with a cold around Christmastime and a first coronavirus test came back negative. Robinson said he began to feel worse and took a second test that confirmed a positive case and he moved into his guest house to mitigate the potential spread and risk to his wife.

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Legendary Motown singer, Smokey Robinson, said his battle with coronavirus nearly ‘wiped’ him out.

Legendary Motown singer, Smokey Robinson, said his battle with coronavirus nearly ‘wiped’ him out.
(Photo by Leon Bennett/STA 2020)

However, Robinson’s condition worsened and he soon developed breathing problems.

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

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The virus “wiped me out,” he said, adding, “I lost all my energy and could not walk from the bed to the bathroom without being exhausted.”

Robinson recalled his efforts to regain his singing voice as “one of the most frightening fights I have ever had,” especially considering he could barely talk.

Thankfully, Robinson said that he never needed to be placed on a ventilator and added that his doctors told him that his outcome might have been much worse had it not been for his impeccable physical fitness at age 81.

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“It sounds weird, I know, but the severity of my condition didn’t hit me until it was over,” he said. “I looked back and knew that I could’ve died… It was that severe. Then it scared me.”

During his first performance after warding off the worse of the outcome, Robinson said he was only able to sing for about 40 minutes but has since been able to keep rocking for two-hour shows.

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“Now I work out almost every day because I don’t want to get the virus again, even though I’ve had both of my shots,” he said.

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