Gemma Atkinson to have heart tests as she fears she has same illness as late dad

Gemma Atkinson has revealed she will be facing serious health tests amid her fears that heart disease could be hereditary in her family, following her dad's tragic death due to the heart condition.

The former Strictly contestant, 36, opened about her decision to have a "full heart MOT" due to her fears she might have the same heart condition as her dad, who tragically passed away from a heart attack when she was just 17-years-old.

The Hits Radio presenter confessed she had been "putting it off for almost 20 years" but felt it was important to take the tests after becoming a parent to her young daughter Mia, two, who she shares with her fiancé Gorka Marquez.

Taking to Instagram to share a brave update to her 1.6 million followers, she told her fans that she will be appearing on Channel 4's Steph's Packed Lunch – hosted by Steph McGovern – this Friday (25 June).

The Hollyoaks star is set to share her test results in the hope she will encourage viewers of the show to get their own health checks.

In the inspiring post, she captioned a preview of the upcoming episode, writing: "Today’s the day.

"After putting it off for almost 20 years (mainly in fear of finding something wrong) I’ve decided to have a full heart MOT.

"I think my dad would be pleased I’m finally doing it, and being a parent myself I kinda feel I have even more of that responsibility."

Gemma continued by saying that she would "hate" her daughter Mia having to deal with the grief she experienced at the young age of 17 after he dad's death.

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She also appeared to reference footballer Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest during a game at the Euros 2020 – explaining that even if someone looks fit and healthy, they can still face critical heart conditions.

Discussing her upcoming tests, Gemma continued: "I’m excited but also nervous of what the outcome will be as I’ve always wondered if heart disease is hereditary.

"I hope this encourages other people to get their checkups and not be afraid.

"I’ll be on @packedlunchc4 on Friday showing all the tests, what happened and my results."

This comes after Gemma emotionally recalled the horrific moment she discovered her father had passed away – when her mother woke her up in the middle of the night to tell her the news.

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Back in April, Gemma posted a lovely throwback photo of her and her dad, penning the caption: "Anger and constant looking back gets us nowhere,"

She said: "19 yrs ago today my life changed with 1 phone call.

"I still remember mum coming into my room in the middle of the night to tell me Dad had died. He’d had a heart attack."

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Speaking candidly, she said that "grief sucks" and that it's difficult and different for everyone but it's something we all have to go through.

She added: "One thing I know for sure is that the world keeps turning with or without us and time still passes.

"Dad always used to say to me, ‘Don’t let the b*****ds grind you down’.

"He always said to keep on going because better times were coming"

Although she said she hasn't fully accepted the tragic death, she has been able to learn to live life without her dad in it.

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