Queen of Pop danced herself into an ICU hospitalization after trying to compete with younger stars like Taylor Swift and Pink.
The 64-year-old legend had been pushing herself to her physical limit ahead of her much-anticipated “Celebration” tour, which led to her sudden collapse and multi-day intubation, insiders told the Sun.
“The countdown was well and truly on. Madonna had all her chips on one number, which was this tour,” the anonymous source told the outlet.
“She was working overtime, but she clearly burnt herself out and people around her have been politely reminding her that she is not 45 anymore, let alone 25.
“She needed to pace herself. Pushing herself so hard was extremely risky.”
Both Swift, 33, and Pink, 43, have been embarking on their own recent headline-grabbing tours, characterized by their jaw-dropping showmanship — Swift has been consistently playing four-hour shows, while Pink stuns fans with aerial stunts hundreds of feet above her audience’s heads.
To compete, Madonna forced herself through hours of grueling rehearsals that slowly took a toll on her body.
Those close to Madge noticed the physical strain she was withstanding and worried it could lead to a fate similar to Michael Jackson’s, who died in the lead-up to his “This Is It” tour in 2009.
“Madonna was in good spirits before the incident, but some friends had encouraged her to take it easy and find time for rest because of the grueling schedule she had ahead of her,” a source told the Sun.
“Many of us feel the constant remarks about her age have put pressure on her to compete, so we are relieved that she has been forced to take time out and put her health first. People were really worried about her.
“Nobody would say it out loud but there were concerns about another Michael Jackson situation if she doesn’t slow down a bit.”
“Everyone saw something like this coming because of her intense schedule but only a few were brave enough to tell her that they were concerned,” the source added.
The insider admission comes just one day after a friend of the superstar told Page Six that Madonna was pushing herself in an attempt to keep up with her dancers, who are just a “fraction of her age.”
The “Like A Virgin” singer had been putting in 12-hour days at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, in preparation for her 84-date tour in the weeks before her health crisis.
The tour, which was slated to kick off July 15, has since been put on pause.
Madonna was even toiling in the studio with Katy Perry just hours before she was found unresponsive last Saturday.
She was intubated in the ICU for several days after being diagnosed with a “serious bacterial infection” that doctors believe grew from an unreported month-long fever the singer had been trying to stifle while strenuously rehearsing.
In spite of the health scare, the “A League of Their Own” star has no plans to scale back her “Celebration” tour when it is rescheduled.
“She is home, happy and taking meetings, and she has rejected a proposal to scale back on the tour as she still wants to deliver as many dates as possible when she’s regained her strength,” the source told the Sun.
“Her condition is completely curable and she’s working with a group of doctors to boost her immune system. She’ll be back, I am 100% sure of it. God bless her. I hope she is still working and still killing it at 100.”