Fabrice Muamba to appear in Strictly Come Dancing

Fabrice Muamba
Image caption Muamba's heart stopped for 78 minutes

Fabrice Muamba is to guest star on a Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing, nine months after he suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie.

The former Bolton Wanderers midfielder will be one of several celebrity guests to be announced in the next few days.

The announcement comes weeks after he told an interviewer he had turned down ITV's Dancing On Ice, but would be "well up for" Strictly.

Muamba, 24, has had to give up football since his near-death experience.

He collapsed in front of 35,000 fans during an FA Cup match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on 17 March.

His heart stopped for 78 minutes but he was resuscitated after repeated shocks from a defibrillator.

Muamba, who recently got married, came to the UK aged 11 from the Democratic Republic of Congo to join his father who had fled from political persecution.

The 24-year-old former footballer will dance with Aliona Vilani who made an early exit from this year's competition because of a damaged ankle. Her partner Johnny Ball was voted out during her absence.

A spokesman for the BBC One show said: "This booking comes on the back of our most successful series ever."

Also expected to return for the Christmas special are last year's runner-up Chelsee Healey and newsreaders Natasha Kaplinsky and Chris Hollins.

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