Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx underwent emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage at the end of March, but was not in danger, the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported on its website on Friday night.

The Flemish newspaper indicated that Merckx, 78, was rushed to the university hospital in Jette, near Brussels, on the night of March 26-27 after complaining of intestinal pain. That night he underwent surgery for an intestinal obstruction and more than a meter of intestine was removed.

The five-time Tour de France winner, considered the best cyclist of all time, told Het Laatste Nieuws that he felt a lot of pain that night.

The surgery went well and Merckx was able to return home where he is recovering after several days of hospitalization. “The Cannibal,” as he was known, lost a lot of weight after the intervention but his life was never in danger, according to the Belgian press.