TV chef Gary Rhodes was warned by doctors about the risks of another head injury after he suffered a blood clot on the brain in a near-death accident when he was a teenager.
Gary, who died on Tuesday night, was aged 19 when he was hit by a van while working at the Hilton in Amsterdam.
He underwent eight-hour brain surgery which was described as the chef's 'last chance' following the accident.
His mum, Jean, said: "It was a life and death situation and quite honestly, they did not expect him to live."
Gary pulled through after a tough six months of rehabilitation and revealed in an interview with the Daily Mail that doctors had warned him to be "very careful" following the accident in August, 1979.
He said: "I loved playing football at school, and it was my dream, like every boy, to play for Manchester United .
"The doctors didn't tell me not to play any more, just to be very careful because of the risk of another head injury. But to me it's not worth the risk, so I don't play at all. I do, however, enjoy playing tennis with my sons, Samuel and George."
This morning Gary's family confirmed the former Masterchef star suffered a fatal bleed on the brain after collapsing at home.
In a statement they said: "In order to end painful speculation surrounding the sudden passing of our beloved Gary Rhodes OBE, the Rhodes family can confirm that after a successful day shooting with Rock Oyster Media for ITV here in Dubai, Gary returned home in a very happy mood for a peaceful evening with his wife Jennie.
"After dinner, Gary unfortunately collapsed in their residence and was rushed to hospital but unfortunately passed away due to subdural hematoma. At this time, there are no other details and the family would again request privacy around this very tragic loss and again, thank friends and family for their ongoing support at this time.”
Gary's brother, Chris, changed his Facebook profile to pictures of his brother in the early hours of Monday morning.
A production company that was working with the chef on a new TV series had said he died after falling ill during filming .
In a statement, Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch TV said: "Gary was in the middle of filming a wonderful new series with Rock Oyster Media for ITV from his base in Dubai.
"Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards.
"Production was obviously halted as soon as Gary was taken ill and members of the Rock Oyster Team remain in Dubai to support the family as best they can."
In the interview in 2001 Gary spoke about how he was keen to improve his health following the accident:
He told the Daily Mail: "The one thing I do to improve my health is work on strengthening my back muscles.
"I do suffer from a bad back, caused by bending over and chopping all the time, and now and again it can get pretty nasty. I don't know a chef who doesn't suffer from it.
I went to see a chiropractor and he has suggested a number of exercises which I've found helpful."
Speaking about the accident he explained: "I don't remember anything about it, and know only what my mother told me later.
"I ran for a tram and looked the wrong way. I wasn't used to the trams in the middle of the road, or cars travelling in the wrong direction, and a van hit me. I woke up in hospital about a week later.
"At the time, they didn't think I was going to pull through because I had a blood clot on the brain. I had brain surgery to have it removed, and I couldn't work for six months.
"One of the dreadful side- effects was that I temporarily lost my sense of smell, which was frightening because I thought it would mean the end of my career."