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Derek Hough Blames Himself for Cheryl Cole's Illness

July 13, 2010, 10:08 am GMT

Since he took the singer to Africa where she contracted malaria from a mosquito, the pro dancer is now praying for her recovery daily.

Cheryl Cole, Derek Hough

Dancer Derek Hough has spoken of his overwhelming "guilt" after taking Cheryl Cole to Africa, where she contracted malaria from a mosquito. The "Dancing with the Stars" pro reveals he spends every moment desperately "praying" for the Girls Aloud pop star's speedy recovery from the disease - after organizing a vacation for Cole and whisking her away to Tanzania in June.

Hough says, "I blame myself for all of this. I convinced Cheryl to come on holiday with me to Tanzania. We might have gone somewhere else if it had been up to her. I've been worried sick about her in hospital. When I'm not by her side I'm praying for her."

Meanwhile, Cole's worried dad Gary Tweedy has been phoning his daughter regularly since she was hospitalized earlier this month. He says, "She has been in a bad way and we have obviously been worried. But she's on the mend now. We don't know how long she'll be in the hospital. I don't think the doctors know. We're just all so relieved she's all right."

A representative for the singer insists she is making "good progress" after being moved from an intensive care unit into a private clinic.

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