DRAGONS’ DEN star, Duncan Bannatyne, was tonight in hospital after fears he had suffered a heart attack.

The Darlington-based entrepreneur and philanthropist was admitted to the town’s Memorial Hospital this morning after falling ill while at his company’s headquarters.

Though his colleagues and family had expressed concern for the 63-year-old’s plight, by 8pm he was sat up in bed and using the social networking site, Twitter, to inform people of his condition.

Bannatyne, who owns a string of hotels, spas and fitness clubs under the Bannatyne Group umbrella, had tweeted, somewhat ironically, early today about how “it is Monday so start the week on a positive note & stay positive”.

But matters took a turn for the worse when the North East Ambulance Service was called to the premises on Haughton Road, at 11.40am after Bannatyne complained of suffering chest pains.

The star, who recently divorced from his wife second wife Joanne McCue after a five-year marriage, has four children from his first marriage and lives on the exclusive Wynyard estate, near Billingham.

A spokesman for his company told The Northern Echo: “Everyone at the company is very concerned and upset, but we know that Duncan is a very strong person and we are confident he will make a full recovery.

“Everyone wishes him well.

“We’d like to thank the quick and professional actions of the paramedics who attended to Duncan and thank the staff at the Memorial Hospital for his ongoing care.”

His daughter, Abi, tweeted: “As news is starting to spread I can confirm my dad was taken into hospital late this morning, he is stable and thats all I can say for now.”

An hour or so later, Bannatyne himself took to the site to address his 543,000 followers.

“In hospital attached to a few wires feeling tired but am sure I will be discharged tomorrow fit & well (fit a pensioner can be anyway)” he said, before adding: “Today was my first trip inside an Ambulance & with siren wailing. Hope it is the last. LoL“

Fellow Dragon, Theo Paphitis, said he had spoken to his friend in hospital and Bannatyne told him he did not think he had suffered a heart-attack.

Paphitis tweeted: “In Scotland no mobile signal but managed to make contact with DuncanBannatyne and he is well undergoing tests does not think heart attack!”

He added: “Speedy recovery we are missing you already.”

Bannatyne was born in Clydebank, Scotland and was raised in what he describes as relatively modest circumstances.

His business interests now include health clubs, hotels, property, media and transport and he is best known as a tough-talking business angel on Dragons Den.

The former Royal Navy stoker began his business empire with an ice cream van, rapidly expanding that business in tough competition before setting up a chain of care homes.

On his website he says he sold that for £26m in 1996 and his childrens nursery chain for £22m.

He has written five self-help books on becoming a success in business and managing money, was awarded an OBE for his charity works and is a vehement anti-smoker.