PROPERTY magnate Eddie Mitchell's heart stopped twice after he collapsed in a Poole food store last week.

Mr Mitchell was working in his office in Ringwood Road on Sunday, September 2 when he felt unwell.

He went to the next-door Co-op to ask for help, but collapsed. An off-duty doctor who was shopping in the store realised his heart had stopped and gave CPR until paramedics arrived.

Mr Mitchell's heart then stopped again before he reached the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

He had open-heart surgery at Southampton Hospital this week and remains under sedation in the critical cardiac care ward.

In a statement to the Daily Echo, his family said: "Eddie felt unwell when he was at work and he went to the Co-op.

"He collapsed and his heart stopped. Thankfully, an off-duty doctor gave him CPR and brought him back to life.

"When paramedics arrived, his heart stopped again. He was then transferred to hospital.

"On Thursday last week, he had surgery. This took 10 hours and involved major work to his aorta. He remains under sedation."

Mr Mitchell showed no signs of illness ahead of his collapse.

His family said: "There was no warning.

"We can say that if the doctor hadn't been in the Co-op when he collapsed, he wouldn't be here now.

“Eddie has opened his eyes since the surgery, but he isn’t able to talk yet.

"We'd like to thank all of the medical staff at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Southampton Hospital for their ongoing care."

Mr Mitchell, a former AFC Bournemouth chairman, first began working in the building business when he was 16 as a hod carrier.

At the age of 24, he built his first property in Sandbanks, and has since built more than 1,000 homes.

In 1992 he established Seven Developments, which became particularly well-known for its Thunderbirds House, as well as two 16ft-wide houses built 10 inches apart on the site of a single property at Sandbanks.