A SPORTING coach says he feared he could die alone and miles from home as he battled influenza, kidney failure, sepsis and hepatitis in a South American hospital.

Craig Webb also struggled to speak to his family from the hospital bed, in Panama, where he lay as he battled the illnesses.

The 31-year-old, from Rayleigh, had been teaching yoga at a hostel when he became ill and was admitted to Hospital Chiriqui, in Panama.

He said: “There was a few times when I had big bags under my eyes and my skin was yellow and I thought I wasn’t going to make it.

“It was very difficult to speak to my mum and I was so scared of getting sepsis. Only the top doctors spoke English so there were a few issues with the Spanish speaking nurse - but they did a great job.

“My family was very scared and my mum wanted to book a flight and come to see me. It was really difficult for everyone and I tried to limited phone calls as I kept breaking down.

“I started to feel ill and thought it was the flu but couldn’t shake it off. There were a lot of complications in hospital and my liver didn’t recover well.

“They told me I may need dialysis and I was worried about that and think I shocked my body into recovering faster.”

The rugby coach spent time in hospital in Southend after returning home in January.

His family launched a fundraising effort and raised £2,420 raised of their £3,500 target. Mr Webb said the family reunion was so emotional.

He added: “It was very emotional when I came home and I was exhausted but feeling relieved to be in an English hospital. The fundraising was incredible.

“I couldn’t believe the amount of people that I didn’t know helping out. I feel so grateful and very lucky my brother was able to financially help me out.

“I’ve still being working abroad coaching sports and feel there’s unfinished business in Panama.”