Boxing legend Frank Bruno has been admitted to hospital after suffering a relapse in his battle with bipolar disorder. The 53-year-old went voluntarily with a "severe bout of depression" after friends and family grew concerned about his well-being, according to a report in the Mirror.
"It is terribly sad but Frank has been struggling for the last few weeks now and needed to get some help," a close friend told the newspaper. "He has taken this step in a bid to make sure he gets better and back to his best as soon as he can.
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Frank Bruno has voluntarily admitted himself into hospital after suffering a bipolar disorder relapse
"All that matters now is that Frank focuses on getting well and his recovery. Frank's a fighter and this is a battle he's determined to win."
Frank's spokesperson Dave Davies confirmed: "After a very busy period Frank decided to seek medical assistance himself to help with a severe bout of depression."
The former British boxer, who is an ambassador for mental health, has been sectioned three times in the past 12 years. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 – he has previously described his battle with mental illness as "the toughest fight of my life".
Frank remains one of the country's best-loved sports stars, despite retiring from the ring 16 years ago. He has spoken openly about his illness in the past, and the need to break down the stigma surrounding mental health.
Frank Bruno pictured with his daughter Rachel after the 2013 London Marathon
"Being sectioned was the best thing that ever happened to me," he said in a 2011 interview. "Getting put in hospital meant I could stop, get myself sorted and come back stronger. Up until that point I wouldn't surrender, I wouldn't give in.
"Now I don't feel ashamed to say, 'Yes, I needed help.' If there is one thing I've learned from my illness it is that there is no shame and no harm in saying you need help."
In 2013, Frank's battle with bipolar was the focus of a moving BBC documentary fronted by his daughter Rachel Bruno, titled My Dad Frank, Bipolar Disorder and Me.
Speaking at the time, Rachel said: "Before he was sectioned we'd lost my dad and if he hadn't got treatment I'm not sure we would have got him back. It has brought us closer together. No we can say, 'Oh, you seem a bit down today, what's wrong?' And that can perk him up. If I saw the signs returning, I'd tell him straight away."