Brendan Cole 'pulls out of Strictly this weekend over lung infection'

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Brendan Cole has pulled out of performing on Strictly Come Dancing this weekend, according to reports.

The professional dancer, who is partnered with Anastacia, has been suffering a lung infection and missed rehearsals this week after being admitted to hospital.

Anastacia will dance instead with Gorka Marquez, who has been working with the singer on the routine, a Quickstep to Frank Sinatra's My Kind of Town.

Brendan Cole and Anastacia
Brendan Cole, who has 'been forced to pull out of Strictly', and Anastacia (Guy Levy/BBC)

The Sun online has quoted a source close to Brendan as saying he is "gutted not to be able to dance this weekend".

The 40-year-old followed medical advice to rest for the week and was hoping to make his return for the live BBC show on Saturday night.

On Friday, Brendan took to social media to reassure his fans after reports surfaced that he had died.

He has kept Strictly viewers updated on the state of his health after being admitted to hospital earlier this week.

The TV star tweeted a screenshot of a news website with a story headlined: "Strictly dancer Brendan Cole has died" and wrote: "Ps ... report yesterday of me having died ... very much untrue! lol."

He said in a statement that he had taken himself to hospital hours before performing last Saturday after coming down with a bad cough, which he feared was a recurrence of the pneumonia he suffered earlier in the year.

The New Zealand-born dancer wrote on Wednesday: "On Saturday morning in the small hours, I was finding it difficult to get enough oxygen into my lungs and was getting worried that maybe my cough was turning back into what I had in February which had me in and out of hospital over three nights.

"Because of this I decided to drive myself to the A&E to get checked out and make sure it was not a serious chest infection and end up in the same situation all over again.

"I simply popped down as I needed some oxygen and my GP wasn't available at 2am. Turns out my blood/oxygen saturation was 93% so I was probably right to do so.

"The hospital looked after me very well and I went home a few hours later, diagnosed with a minor chest infection to be delt (sic) with in the normal way."

Following his late night at the hospital, Brendan appeared on the Saturday show and successfully danced a rumba as planned, making it through to another week in the competition.

But he also responded to reports that he was left coughing and clutching his chest while talking to the judges after the dance.

He said: "During both the Saturday show and the results show, it was reported by various publications that I was clearly seen clutching at my chest in a bid to breathe. All I was trying to do was cover my microphone so as not to cough down it to a few million people watching at home - I know, I'm so considerate."

Brendan thanked supporters for their "lovely messages of concern" over the week and promised viewers: "Should I not be ready, Gorka and Anastacia will perform their quickstep with me cheering them on from Claudia's sofa or my own."

He added: "Let's hope Anastacia, Gorka and I can do a great job on Saturday and get ourselves through to Halloween week (which is usually my favourite of the series)."