England football legend Paul Gascoigne said his heart stopped three times while he was in rehab for drink addiction last year, in an interview to be broadcast on Monday.
Rumours that he had died were closer to the truth than most people realised, he said, telling Sky News television: "My heart failed on us a few times."
Gascoigne also spoke candidly about his attack on his ex-wife Cheryl, saying: "If you are sitting in a restaurant and somebody calls your mum a whore, which she did, and for no reason, I don't like that -- and yes, I got hold of her arms and I did put my head against her head.
"I didn't headbutt her but I threw her to the floor, and I was disgusted with myself for what I did.
"I went to therapy. I sat with 15-20 women and told them exactly what I did. I got punched by a few women for doing what I did, but I took the punches and I accepted it."
Gascoigne -- considered one of the most talented players English football has ever produced -- has battled alcoholism and depression since his playing days and last year was sectioned under British mental health laws.
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