Zac Efron 'almost died' while filming survival series on remote Papua New Guinea

29 December 2019, 12:40 | Updated: 29 December 2019, 14:00

Zac Efron
Zac Efron poses for a picture with crocodiles in Papua New Guinea before falling ill. Picture: Cyril Tara / Facebook

By Beci Wood

Zac Efron was rushed to hospital just before Christmas after contracting a deadly 'form of ­typhoid or similar bacterial ­infection' in Papua New Guinea.

The Hollywood heartthrob had been filming a new adventure documentary called Killing Zac Efron where he goes off 'the grid' for three weeks to spend time deep in the jungle with just a tour guide and no luxuries.

But the show's title seemed worryingly close to the line as he ended up on a 'life or death' flight to Australia after getting struck down with a serious illness.

Upon touching down in Australia, The High School Musical and Greatest Showman star was immediately admitted to the private St Andrews War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane and was treated there for several days.

Read more: Zac Efron gives update on Greatest Showman sequel

Zac Efron
Zac Efron gives the thumbs-up at the start of his trip as he heads out on a canoe. Picture: Cyril Tara / Facebook

When he was given the all clear by medical professionals he flew back home to the US on Christmas Eve.

Dr Glenn McKay, the Director of Medical Rescue who oversaw the star's emergency flight to Australia, confirmed they "retrieved a US citizen in his 30s from PNG to Brisbane for medical attention in Australia."

Zac was coming to the end of his time in Papua New Guinea after arriving at the start of December.

Read more: Who is Zac Efron's girlfriend? The 13 Again actor is rumoured to be dating swimmer Sarah Bro

Zac Efron
Zac Efron spent time with guide Cyril Tara who shared images of the pair of them on his Facebook page. Picture: Cyril Tara / Facebook

Cyril Tara, a local Wewak tour guide who was assisting Zac on his journey, had shared a selection of images of the actor before panic had struck.

In one picture Zac looked happy on a canoe as he travelled to the Kamanibit Village and in another Zac was seen with crocodiles.

On December 7th he wrote on Facebook: "I am very happy to be his guide."

The Hollywood Reporter had previously explained the series will follow Zac as he goes "deep into the jungle of a remote, dangerous island, falling off the grid for 21 days."

Zac Efron
Zac Efron hangs out with tour guide Cyril Tara. Picture: Cyril Tara / Facebook

Before heading out on the challenge in November, Zac had said: "I tend to thrive under extreme circumstances and seek out opportunities that challenge me on every level.

"I am excited to explore any uncharted territory and discover what unexpected adventure awaits."

A hospital dash was not part of the plans but thankfully he is home and safe now.

Killing Zac Efron was due to air on new streaming platform Quibi next year.