Smokey Robinson is one of the iconic singer-songwriters of his generation but in his words, he nearly died after being contracting COVID-19 in 2020.
The 81-year-old Robinson said it was “touch and go” after he came down with COVID in December 2020 and was hospitalized, losing his voice and making him fearful he’d never sing again.
In a new interview with the Daily Mail, the Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee referred to himself as a “COVID survivor.”
He became ill shortly before Christmas after playing shows on the road. After one COVID test said he was negative for the virus, Robinson felt sicker days later. He took a second test and the test confirmed he was positive with COVID. He moved to his guest house to quarantine and avoid exposing his wife but he began having trouble breathing days after living in the guest house.
“It was over, man,” Robinson said. “They had to rush me to the hospital. Fortunately I never had to use the ventilator. I never lost my taste or smell, but it wiped me out. I lost all my energy and could not walk from the bed to the bathroom without being exhausted.”
Doctors told Robinson his physical stature for his age was one of the key reasons he was able to battle COVID the way he did along with a positive mindset.
“Before I got the virus I would work out two or three times a week,” he said. “I have been doing yoga, stretching and positions for 40 years. 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. I lift weights and work out. I don’t run as I had surgery on both knees, but I do walk. I stay active as I don’t want to be decrepit.”
Robinson’s biggest fear after he was released from the hospital was regaining his singing voice. He could barely talk when he returned home and the experience to regain his gift was “one of the most frightening fights” he ever had.
“I looked back and knew that I could’ve died, because it was that severe,” he said. “Then it scared me. It sounds weird I know, but the severity of my condition didn’t hit me until it was over.”