Former Super Eagles, Nwankwo Kanu has recalled the day his wife Amara saved his life and then nursed him back to health.
A routine medical check-up on Kanu in 1996 at Inter Milan revealed a serious defect before he underwent successful heart surgery.
After putting their three children to bed, the Arsenal legend and his wife were enjoying the peace and quiet. They were about to go to sleep, but the former striker’s hammering heartbeat was keeping Amara awake.
“His heartbeat sounded much louder than normal. I was listening to his chest and it sounded odd,” Kanu’s wife of more than 10 years told Daily Mirror.
More than a decade earlier, Kanu had needed lifesaving open-heart surgery after being diagnosed with a heart valve defect.
After the check in the United States in 2012, it was Amara who also helped nurse her husband back to full health.
“Our youngest was just three at the time. It was very hard. We broke it to them little by little. I said, ‘Daddy will be OK. He’s in good hands’,” Amara, 30 said.
Kanu, now 40, says: “She was saying I should go for a check-up so I took her advice.”
And Amara, who runs an interior design business, was proved right because experts told him there was further damage to his heart and he urgently needed a second operation.
“It was the same faulty valve,” she says. “It was like a ticking time bomb. It’s just one of those things we were lucky to find out.”
Not only did she save his life, Amara also nursed him back to health and has now written a book called Healthy Living with Amara Kanu, inspired by her battle to get her husband back on his feet.
“Kanu’s heart doctor said to me, ‘What’s the routine you have been using with Kanu all these years for him to play football and win all his medals, the FA Cup and everything?’ So I just said healthy eating, exercise and listening to your body. I wanted to use all my knowledge to help other people,” Amara said about her new book which she will be unveiling at the Emirate Stadium on Friday, July 14.
It took him a year to recover and return to Inter Milan, before being signed by Arsenal for a reported £4.15million in 1999.
His comeback was cemented by a hat-trick in the final 15 minutes of a game against Chelsea later that year.
In 2000, he set up The Kanu Heart Foundation to help underprivileged children across Africa with heart problems.
The couple wedded in 2004 and has three kids together Sean 12, Ian 10, and Pinky five.