A KUNG FU champion whose weight ballooned to 27 stone after suffering from a rare heart condition is fighting fit after a life-saving operation.

Sid Sofocleous, 47, from Highbury, was on death’s door after his heart stopped functioning properly.

For eight months he was confined to his home, unable to move – a far cry from his life as a wing chun kung fu master who has worked alongside boxer Lennox Lewis and travelled the world teaching thousands of children.

Mr Sofocleous, who has a two-year-old son called Harry, said: “I saw various doctors and they couldn’t give me a diagnosis and it just got worse and worse. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t even move. It was unbearable, especially as I was so active before.

“I was at such a low ebb, I thought my life was coming to an end. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to watch my son grow up.”

When his condition worsened in April this year, he was taken to Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead where Doctor Joseph Davar, from Finchley, diagnosed him with constrictive pericarditis, a condition which causes the outer layer of the heart to become rigid and causes the body to accumulate fluid.

Mr Sofocleous had heart surgery and lost a staggering 12 stone in fluid in under a month.

Yesterday Mr Sofocleous, who is once again practising kung fu, personally thanked Dr Davar and presented him with a Chinese statue as a token of his gratitude. The statue is inscribed: “In the depths of winter you gave me an invincible summer. Thank you for saving my life.”

Mr Sofocleous said: “Dr Davar was like my knight in shining armour - I owe my life to him.”