Former Wales prop Rhys Thomas has retired from rugby with immediate effect after suffering a heart attack in January, it was confirmed on Friday.
The 29-year-old Scarlets prop, who won the last of his seven caps for Wales in a match against South Africa in 2008, suffered the heart attack during a gym session.
He underwent a quadruple heart bypass which saved his life but has not played since. Thomas also suffered a mild heart attack during an earlier stint in his playing career with Newport Gwent Dragons in 2006.
Thomas said the surgeon who had operated on him after his most recent attack feared he would not survive.
"I was extremely close to losing my life," he said. "My surgeon tells me that when he opened my chest he did not think I would make it through the operation.
"But I am still here so I am pretty happy.
"I have had a couple of weird incidents through my life but I am using up my nine lives definitely. I don't think I have many left."
"I'm just concentrating on getting myself fit and healthy again and that could take 12 months after what's happened," he added.
"It's still early but I know that I want to stay in the game that means so much to me. Perhaps coaching, helping out young front rowers. There's a number of things I might be able to do.