Simon Cowell came within ‘one-centimetre of being paralysed’ when he fell from his electric bicycle and broke his back in several places.
The 60-year-old entertainment mogul is said to be recovering well after having six-hour emergency surgery which saw a metal rod placed in his back.
He was operated on during Saturday night after the accident at his Malibu home earlier in the afternoon.
A source told The Mirror: ‘Simon fell flat on his back and the doctors say the impact missed his spinal cord by about a centimetre and it could have been a lot, lot more serious.’
Simon broke his back in a number of places in the accident, with a spokesperson telling MailOnline that he is now ‘under observation and doing fine.’
However it will take him some time to recover and it is expected that Simon will remain in hospital, reportedly the Providence Saint John’s hospital in Santa Monica, for at least the next few days.
A friend of the family told MailOnline that Simon is doing well now, but was in ‘shock and massive amounts of pain’.
At the time of the fall, Simon’s son Eric and stepson Adam were with him and since being admitted to hospital Lauren has been able to see him briefly.
They said: ’He’s in recovery and asleep. Lauren went with him to the hospital and has been allowed in briefly to see him. He’s doing OK in the circumstances.
‘He was in shock and in massive amounts of pain. He was outside in the courtyard in Malibu with Eric and Adam trying this new bike’.
The pal added: ‘Simon’s had to have a big surgery, he’s got a number of breaks and has had to have a metal rod put into his back.
‘When he fell off the bike he landed right on his back which broke in a number of places. It was six hour surgery overnight on Saturday.’
While a source also discussed Simon’s big surgery, telling People: ‘He has had to have a number of fusions and metal rod put into his back… The injuries are bad but he’s also been told he was lucky.’
Discussing the TV star’s recovery, another source told The Sun Simon had suffered ‘three breaks in his back ‘it could take ‘several weeks’ before it is know if Simon will have any long lasting effects from the fall.
They said: ‘It’ll be several weeks for the bruising and swelling to go down and then we’ll know how serious the lasting effects could be.
‘He’s lucky to be even in the state he is in with a metal rod in his back and multiple breaks… He could have been looking at a life in a wheelchair.’
Earlier on Sunday Simon’s rep explained what happened. A statement said: ‘Simon had a fall from his bike on Saturday afternoon whilst testing his new electric bike in the courtyard at his house in Malibu with his family.
‘He hurt his back and was taken to the hospital. He’s doing fine, he’s under observation and is in the best possible hands.’
However a source told The Sun that Simon was attempting a wheelie when he was ‘surprised by the power’ of the new bike and knew straight away that he ‘was in trouble’.
It is not currently clear exactly what kind of back injury Simon has, but a ‘broken back’ often refers to a fracture in a part of the spine.
This involves a break in at least one of the vertebrae that make up the back bone and protect your spinal cord.
Fractures in the back can often cause severe pain and can severely restrict movement, with some patients needing a back brace while they recover.
If the spinal cord is also damaged the injuries can have more severe long term consequences. The higher up the spinal cord the more movement will be restricted.
MailOnline has contacted Simon Cowell’s representatives for further comment.
It’s unclear whether or not he will now be able to participate in either the upcoming series of Britain’s Got Talent or its US equivalent show.
A source told The Sun: ‘If he had his way he’d be back at work on Monday but it’s more likely that we’re going to aim for the AGT final. It’s too soon to think about anything more or BGT at this point.’
Simon is due to return to America’s Got Talent next week, with the first live show set to air on Tuesday August 11.
Last week it emerged that his commitment to the upcoming shows would be compromised due to a timetable clash.
The talent show maestro was already set to miss out on the BGT semi-finals this year for the first time as production takes place at the same time as America’s Got Talent due to COVID-19 delays.
Prior to his fall, a source told The Sun: ‘Simon is gutted to not be physically there for the semi- finals, but he’ll be there virtually, casting an eye over the talent and imparting his views in every show.
‘Normally, schedules mean Simon can do both but AGT’s dates haven’t moved while BGT’s have due to coronavirus.’
A spokesperson for The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent boss confirmed the details of Simon’s fall in a statement, saying ‘he’s under observation and doing fine’.
Simon is regularly seen on bike rides with his family around his Malibu home.
It is thought that Simon first treated himself to two £2,000 electric bikes when he changed his lifestyle a few years ago, reports The Mirror.
The star has embarked on a healthier regime in recent years, leading to a 60 lbs weight loss.
His new health regime has seen him committed to a diet of white meat, fruit, and vegetables as well as regular exercise.
The mogul decided to improve his health after he injured himself in a fall down the stairs at his London home in October 2017.
The star was taken to hospital in an ambulance, later explaining that he had fainted due to ‘low blood pressure’.
The star blamed his injuries on his unhealthy lifestyle where he ‘lived like a vampire’, staying awake until 8am every day and vowed to take better care of himself.
He told The Sun at the time that the horrific fall had reminded him he was not ‘invincible’, and that he has a ‘responsibility’ to take control of his health as a father.
‘Sometimes we get a reminder that we’re not invincible and this was certainly mine. It was a huge shock,’ he said.
Revealing the incident had been down to an underlying health problem, he continued: ‘They think I fainted because I had low blood pressure and so I have got to really take good care of myself to sort that out.’
Before adding of his son Eric: ‘After all I am a dad and have more responsibility than ever.’
The star was forced to pull out of the live Britain’s Got Talent show the day after his fall, leaving Alesha Dixon to take his place on the panel for that week.
Simon began his diet last year, and told The Sun in May he can’t believe the results he’s been getting, saying: ‘I started this diet a year ago and I’ve lost 60 pounds.’
He has been sticking to his diet whilst in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, but says he is always tempted to slip into old habits when his six-year-old son Eric – whom he has with Lauren – has a pizza for dinner.
He added: ‘I’m doing a bit of cooking. I’m exercising. Funny enough, more during this time as well, sticking to the diet. The only difficult thing is when Eric orders a pizza…that’s the number one thing I miss.’
Meanwhile, the America’s Got Talent creator previously said he can’t believe how good he looks since losing weight, as he managed to shave several inches from his waistline.
He shared with The Sun: ‘The most dramatic period was the first month where most of the weight comes off and you look at yourself and think ‘wow.’ I used to be 36 inch waist and now I’ve lost four inches. I’m really happy now.’
Referring to Corona Premium Lite he said: ‘You can drink this light beer but you’ve got to be sensible about quantities. I have loads more energy and feel great.
‘All I do is avoid just red meat – white meat is fine – and I eat loads of vegetables, salads and drink this great beer,’ Simon said.
‘I’m on a diet but it doesn’t feel like it now because the food I eat is really healthy and I don’t find it tedious. If it’s boring you won’t stick to it.’
Simon became a household name when he appeared as a judge on the talent show, Pop Idols, which aired in 2001.
From there he created his own music show franchise known as the X Factor which launched in 2004 and showcased some of the country’s best emerging talent including Little Mix, One Direction, and Leona Lewis.
Simon has become a staple on TV screens across Britain and a constant presence on his other show Britain’s Got Talent which originally aired in 2007.
The semi-finals for the upcoming season will take place on Saturday nights during autumn in 2020.