Tory Aitken, 78, was jailed for 18 months in 1999 for perjury and perverting the course of justice during a failed attempt to sue a newspaper for libel. The one-time Chief Secretary to the Treasury has worked as a prison chaplain since his release.
The former Cabinet minister survived the heart attacks during emergency surgery on his gut, leaving him in an induced coma.
Friends revealed how a priest was even called to perform the Last Rites when doctors failed in their first attempt to revive him.
A source said: “Doctors warned us he was slipping away and would likely have brain damage if he pulled through.
“After three days in a coma there was no change. He didn’t wake up from the coma the first time they tried. A day later, they tried again and we all said a big ‘hooray’ when he came round.
“We had our first conversation with him and he was foggy, but all right.”
It is understood that Aitken, former MP for Thanet, is now on the mend.
His problems started a year ago with internal bleeding exacerbated by Covid.
Two weeks ago he attended hospital for a routine procedure but fell ill and was taken to the Lister Hospital in central London.
A family source said: “His gut basically died.”
He has been speaking daily by phone to wife Elizabeth Rees-Williams, 84.
His businessman son William, 37, flew back to the UK from his Dubai base but had to go into hotel quarantine.
Several prisoners at Pentonville jail, where he is a part-time chaplain, have offered their support.