Simon Cowell's bike accident in Malibu, California on Saturday sent him to the hospital with a broken back, the America's Got Talent judge's representative confirmed, while a source said he was almost paralyzed. The 60-year-old no-nonsense reality TV star had surgery for the injury Saturday night. Cowell has been living in Malibu during the coronavirus pandemic with his longtime girlfriend Lauren Silverman, their 6-year-old son Eric and Silverman's son Adam, 14, from a previous relationship.
Cowell's rep told PEOPLE he "has broken has back" and needed surgery. "Simon had a fall from his bike on Saturday afternoon whilst testing his new electric bike in the courtyard at his house in Malibu with his family," the rep explained, adding that Cowell is doing well. "He's doing fine, he's under observation and is in the best possible hands," the rep said.
A source close to Cowell told The Mirror he narrowly missed being paralyzed. The source said Cowell's surgery lasted six hours. Afterward, the source spoke to Cowell, who was "in incredible, ridiculous amounts of pain and also in shock." Cowell's back was broken in "several places," but Cowell was "lucky," the source said. "He fell flat on his back and the doctors say the impact missed his spinal cord by about a centimeter and it could have been a lot, lot more serious," they explained.
Cowell is scheduled to return to work on Tuesday, with America's Got Talent's long-delayed 15th season set to resume production. The season was put on hold in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. NBC confirmed last week there will be a live episode airing Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET and it is not clear if Cowell will make the taping due to his injury. The acts performing on Tuesday are Archie Williams, Double Dragon, Feng E, Bello and Annaliese Nock, Divas and drummers of Compton, FrenchieBabyy, Michael Yo, Pork Chop Revue, Roberta Battaglia, Shaquira McGrath, and Simon and Maria. This is the first season featuring Sofia Vergara as a judge, alongside Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel.
During a May interview with PEOPLE, Cowell said he was enjoying spending more time with his son during the pandemic. "We definitely have more family time together now. We watch movies in the evening, play together, read books, comics, everything," he said, adding that he is also keeping up with his exercise routine. "I feel really healthy at the moment," he said.