THE wife of brave Bee Gees pop legend Robin Gibb has spoken for the first time about his incredible battle to survive — after appearing to be at death’s door.
In an exclusive interview, Dwina said that 62-year-old Robin simply refused to give up after he amazed medics by emerging from a nine-day coma.
She said: “The doctors asked Robin if he wanted them to do everything in their power to save his life — or if he felt the time would come when enough was enough.
“He told them, ‘There will NEVER be a time when enough is enough. I want to live no matter what.”
Robin has colon cancer, which spread to his liver. He then contracted pneumonia.
Two weeks ago he slid into a coma and was put on a ventilator.
But Dwina, 59, never gave up hope, despite doctors’ fears that the star would not recover. Now the veteran singer is sitting up in bed, chatting and breathing with only the aid of an oxygen mask.
Last weekend, astonished doctors at the London Clinic praised his “iron will, indomitable fighting spirit and remarkable physical endurance”.
Robin had been due to appear on stage at the world premiere of his classical work Titanic Requiem two days after he fell into a coma.
Dwina and their son Robin-John, known as RJ, put on a brave face and attended the London concert. The piece was the culmination of 2½ years of work by Robin and RJ, 28. But the proud moment of its first performance was a nightmare for family who attended.
Melissa, 37, and Spencer, 39 — Robin’s children from his first marriage — were also present.
Dwina said: “The day before the concert it suddenly struck me that, instead of singing the beautiful song Don’t Cry Alone that evening, Robin was in a coma and might die.
“I suddenly thought, ‘If he never comes out of the coma, I will never hear his voice again. Many nights since we’ve been together as a couple, I’ve woken to hear him composing on the keyboards in the next room, singing like an angel.
“I couldn’t bear it if his beautiful voice was silenced for ever.
“We all had to accept that Robin couldn’t go to the premiere. But we all realised that the show had to go on without him. I stayed with him in the hospital until the very last minute, because I really didn’t want to leave him.
“The audience at the concert stood and cheered but I couldn’t help breaking down. Then I pulled myself together and told myself that Robin would survive. And I am forever grateful that RJ has been by my side throughout this ordeal.
“RJ had made sure the premiere was filmed — and we all passionately believed that one day Robin would watch it.”
Dwina revealed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of the last people to speak to Robin before he fell into a coma.
She said: “Tony — Robin’s good friend — had planned to attend the premiere of Titanic Requiem. But at the last minute he had to fly to Washington.”
Robin’s fight back from a coma is the latest in a string of recoveries showing his determination.
His cancer diagnosis was in 2010 but he was found to be in remission after chemotherapy. Then this year there was a new blow when he developed a twisted colon.
Dwina said: “It was the same condition from which his twin brother Maurice died in 2003. Robin was in terrible pain and very frightened.
“I had to stay at the hospital with him 24/7, sleeping on a camp bed.
“At one point Robin was on an intravenous drip, when he turned pink because of an allergic reaction. I was able to call the nurses and they saved his life.
“Heartwarming messages of love and support poured in from all over the world.”
There was another setback when doctors told Dwina that Robin’s bowel had perforated. They could operate — but he had just a ten per cent chance of survival.
Dwina recalled: “He was in terrible danger. There was every chance he would die as soon as the anaesthetic was administered.
“I said, ‘If we just sit here and not let Robin have the operation, he will be gone in an hour.’ RJ said, ‘Dad is going to pull through this. I know it’.
“So they began the operation, with the warning that he might die within 20 minutes.
“Those were the worst 20 minutes of my life.
“I sat there praying. Then the doctors came in and nodded. He had made it. They told us he would be on a ventilator for three days — but he was off it within hours.”
It was soon after surviving that operation that Robin was struck down with pneumonia.
Dwina said: “By then, Robin’s brother Barry, his wife Linda and their son Stephen had flown from the US. Their 93-year-old mother Barbara wasn’t well enough to make the journey.
“When Robin saw Barry, he gave him the thumbs-up and told him he loved him. After that he fell into a coma.”
As the family kept a bedside vigil, fellow Bee Gee Barry, 65, tried to communicate with his brother through music.
Dwina said: “Barry sang a song he had composed for Robin. We played him Bee Gees music — and each time we did, tears began trickling down his cheeks.
“As we played him his song I Started A Joke, he opened his mouth on cue to sing. The doctors know relatives of coma patients are always looking for hopeful signs. They told me it could just be an automatic response.
“But it seemed too much of a coincidence that the only time Robin opened his mouth was the exact point in the song when he would have started singing.
“We persuaded them to let us test my theory by attaching electrodes to Robin’s brain and monitoring his reactions to the music.”
Amazingly, Robin woke from his coma midway through the Titanic Requiem being played to him.
Dwina recalled: “He suddenly opened his eyes and looked straight at me. Then he turned to RJ and mouthed, ‘Hello, RJ’. I had tears of happiness in my eyes.
“The nurses and doctors were astounded. Robin’s voice, although a bit husky, is almost back to normal. He is talking and smiling.”
But Dwina knows her husband is not out of the woods yet.
She said: “We have to take each day as it comes. Robin has been seriously ill. Every time I go to hospital to see him, I am so happy to be there, so happy to see him with his eyes open and talking.”
Irish-born artist and writer Dwina was 28 when she met Robin, who made up the hit-making Bee Gees with Maurice and Barry. She said: “Robin saw some of my drawings and commissioned me to paint more.
“From the start I loved his twinkling eyes, his sense of humour, his creativity — and the fact that he wasn’t materialistic.”
The pair married in 1985. Instead of a flashy showbiz bash, they opted to wed in a register office.
But in the middle of the ceremony, they realised that they had forgotten to buy wedding rings.
Dwina said: “I’d given Robin an Anglo-Saxon king’s ring, so he used that, along with a traditional Irish ring. He had given me a star ring with a diamond in the middle and I wore that.”
Her voice broke as she went on: “He has worn those rings every day since. But after he fell into the coma, his fingers swelled up so badly, doctors removed them.”
Dwina thanked Robin’s devoted fans who have helped sustain him through his ordeal.
And she added: “I am eternally proud of my husband and all his achievements. What an extraordinary life he’s had — to touch so many souls all over the world with his beautiful voice. I am honoured to have shared my life with him.”
by Milo Johnson