An Elvis Presley impersonator who felt sick on stage thought it was due to the authenticity of the King's moves - turns out he was having a heart attack.
Peter Triantis could have died then and there. Instead he delivered a winning performance in Wellington that saw him take last year's Elvis Down Under crown before flying home to Melbourne.
On Saturday he returned to compete and again took out the top prize.
During last year's performance he was feeling particularly nauseous but didn't think much of it. "[I] just thought it was because of the Elvis moves."
He continued to feel sick when he arrived home and took himself to the hospital where he was told he was experiencing a "massive" heart attack.
While the original Elvis suffered a heart attack from an irregular heartbeat, ending his life at 42, Triantis's main artery was blocked by a blood clot, likely caused from his air travel.
"It meant I should've died on the spot." Not ready to leave the metaphorical building just yet, Triantis put his unlikely survival down to his fitness.
He had recovered completely from the heart attack, without any permanent damage, and was able to fly back for this year's competition.
"I'm lucky, just to be back on stage. It's very emotional to be back here, winning.
"You appreciate your life better and you make the most of everything. It's still very surreal that it happened to me - someone who doesn't smoke, drink, or do drugs, has always been fit. I guess that's what saved my life."
Triantis, a television host, was overwhelmed when he was named co-winner of this year's competition held at the Petone Workingmen's Club during the weekend.
Triantis and fellow Australian George Nadile were awarded the joint prize on Saturday night, beating 14 other tribute artists in the competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News