Hoping others will learn from his experience, the singer says, "Please get vaccinated. Wear a mask because it is a horrible thing"
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Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson
| Credit: Michele Eve Sandberg/Shutterstock

It's been almost one year since Smokey Robinson had a close encounter with a "real killer" — a "frightening" case of COVID-19 that kept him hospitalized for 11 days.

"I could have died," Robinson, 81, said last month when he first discussed his battle with the coronavirus that almost took his voice.

Now recovered, Robinson is making the rounds to promote his upcoming Lifetime movie, Miracle in Motor City, but the dangers of COVID-19 are still on his mind — so he's encouraging others to take the threat seriously.

"I am very happy to share [my story] because I hope it helps someone," Robinson told ET.

"Please get vaccinated," he continued. "Wear a mask because it is a horrible thing to have to go through."

Robinson hopes others will learn from his experience of coming close to death from COVID-19.

"Protect yourself and those that you love," he said. "Some people go through it mildly, but you are talking to someone who went through it severely. So when you go through it like that, it's a really rough health thing to overcome ... [if it wasn't] for the grace of God, I wouldn't be here talking to you guys."

People Lifetime Christmas
Tia Mowry and Smokey Robinson (with Markeda McKay) in "Miracle in Motor City."
| Credit: Courtesy Lifetime

In Miracle in Motor City, which airs Nov. 28 on Lifetime, Robinson plays himself, alongside Tia Mowry-Hardrict, who is also a producer.

"It's so wonderful," Robinson shared of the holiday movie. "It's a Black story about Detroit and that's where I'm from, that's my home …. And then I found out Tia's in it. I said, 'Okay man, like it's got everything to coax me to be in it.' I was very, very happy to be a part of it."

A National Medal of Arts recipient, a Grammy winner and an inductee to both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Robinson has earned countless achievements in music. However, acting was always on his list — he just never had the opportunity, he shared.

"I always said that if I did it, I didn't want to play myself. I wanna be a character, you know, I don't have to be the star of the movie or none of that, I just wanna be a character in a movie," he said.

And though he's playing himself in Miracle in Motor City, Robinson is thrilled to be working on a movie and still touring and singing for his fans.

"I tried retiring from this one time and I was miserable for three years," he said of continuing to perform. "I can't find anything to replace it."