'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Gleb Savchenko Says He Was 'Dying' From COVID-19

Gleb Savchenko is urging people to get vaccinated against COVID after contracting the virus earlier this year before receiving his vaccine. The Dancing With the Stars pro opened up to his co-star Cheryl Burke and her former dance partner AJ McLean on Monday's episode of their Pretty Messed Up podcast, saying he was "literally dying" at the height of his illness. 

"I've never felt worse in my life," Savchenko, 37, shared of his experience with COVID. "My heart was, like, 167 beats per minute. I fainted a couple of times. I called 911 twice." The professional dancer is three months out from battling the virus, which he thinks he caught while traveling to Texas for work. "It was pretty bad. I came back and I felt like crap," he recalled. "I went [to get tested] and it was negative. I went the second time, it was negative. I was dying. Literally dying. I felt like I couldn't breathe. It was just bad."

It was on the third test that Savchenko got a positive result, and he was then quarantined at home for two weeks. "It was bad. It was the worst," he explained, adding that after he was cleared of COVID, he went and got the vaccine. "Everybody who's not vaccinated, go get vaccinated 'cause that sucks. It sucks."

Savchenko shares daughters Olivia, 11, and Zlata, 4, with estranged wife Elena Samodanova, from whom he split in November 2020 after 14 years of marriage. Despite all the safety precautions being taken by Dancing With the Stars ahead of the Sept. 20 Season 30 premiere, the pro said it's "scary" balancing the show with being a dad. 


"We share custody 50/50, so a week with Elena, a week with me. I interviewed several babysitters, so literally, I'm just going to try to do it all," he explained. "I'm still going through this whole thing and it's super new to me. I'm scared as f—, to be honest with you. I'm like, 'How's it going to work?'" Despite his concerns, Savchenko said he's determined to make everything work. "I enjoy being with my girls. To me, I'm the best dad. I give them everything," he explained, adding, "Work is work. I'll do what I've gotta do."