Melissa Bell, herself a Grammy-winning artist with Soul II Soul in the 1980s, said that she fell ill with kidney problems in July last year but only received important medical help at the insistence of the X Factor winner.
"I had gone to bed feeling tired and ill and on the Sunday morning, I just couldn't get up. I assumed that it was flu, because I didn't even have the energy to lift my head from the pillow. Alexandra came in and sat on my bed. She said, 'Mum, you need to see a doctor', but I disagreed. She wanted to call an ambulance, but I was insistent she should do no such thing," she told the Daily Mail.
"But Alexandra said, 'Mum, you've turned as white as a sheet, and you're a black woman. I'm dialling 999.' Then I remember being lifted into the ambulance."
Bell revealed that Burke's togetherness during the crisis helped the family get through, saying: "For two weeks, the children stayed by my side, not knowing if I'd survive. At one point, I opened my eyes and saw about 25 doctors all shaking their heads. I don't know how Alexandra coped.
"One minute she was a young girl getting ready for [X Factor] Boot Camp; the next, she was worrying her mother might die, and trying to be strong for her younger brother."