Sir Bruce Forsyth’s wife says she feared for his life following a fall in October.
Wilnelia Forsyth said the 87-year-old entertainer was “getting better” after he had keyhole surgery on an abdominal aneurysm last month but added it had been an “emotional time”.
The 58-year-old Puerto Rican said: “I’m not ready to lose him yet. This has scared me to death, particularly waiting in that hospital when he was having his operation.
“That felt like an eternity. Because of Bruce’s age there are so many risks involved.
“You think, ‘My God, will he come out all right?’. But you have to trust the doctors.
“The alternative – not having surgery – was worse. It’s like you’re in a corner. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, because this is such a fatal thing.”
The former Miss World said the surgery and recovery had been “very, very hard” for her husband, who was a “proud man”.
But she told the Daily Mail: “We’ve been told with this kind of operation it will take one or two months for him to fully recover. Seeing my husband getting better is like having an early Christmas present.”
The BBC said it was “too early” for Sir Bruce to take part in recording the Strictly special but that he would still be in the show.
A spokesman said: “Due to the long studio hours, he is unable to host the show but will still play a part in the production.
“Sir Bruce will record a special video message for this year’s celebrity line-up and the viewers at home, which will play out when the Strictly Christmas Special airs on BBC One on Christmas Day at 6.15pm.”
It is not the first time Sir Bruce has had to pull out of work.
In October 2013, he had to pull out of hosting Strictly Come Dancing after being taken ill with flu.
Sir Bruce, the host of the series from 2004 to 2014, also missed a programme through illness in 2009.
The producers of Strictly regularly scheduled rest weeks into Sir Bruce’s schedule during the series to help him cope with the workload of fronting three months of weekly live programmes.