LONDON – New York magician David Blaine (search) emerged Sunday from 44 days of isolation in a clear plastic box, 50 pounds lighter and buoyed by crowds celebrating the conclusion of his self-imposed starvation stunt.
Thousands of people watched the 30-year-old Blaine leave the box, which was suspended by a crane, after it was lowered to the banks of the Thames River (search). After living on only water since Sept. 5, Blaine was taken to a hospital for examination.
"This has been one of the most inspirational experiences of my life," Blaine said feebly, pausing and looking as if he might pass out. "I have learned more in that box than I have learned in years. I have learned how strong we are as human beings."
Blaine shuffled as he took his first steps on solid ground, and was helped to a stage by attendants.
Cheering crowds filled the small park near London's Tower Bridge (search) and lined the riverbanks to see Blaine in the final few hours of his latest endurance feat in a box measuring 7 feet-by-7 feet-by-3 feet.
Paul Kenny, a medic at the site, said Blaine would undergo blood tests at a private hospital and be given fluids intravenously before moving onto blended foods. It could be several days before he resumed eating solid foods, Kenny said.
"If you look at him he looks great, but I suspect he's been living on adrenaline," Kenny said.
Sunday night's cheerful crowd contrasted strongly with some of the hostility directed toward Blaine earlier in his ordeal. His box has been pelted with eggs, burgers and balloons filled with pink paint.
Rick Brim, 26, a vendor working the crowd on Tower Bridge, said, "Sitting in a box for 44 days is a bit of a farce, especially because there are really people starving, but it's doing me all right selling binoculars."
Blaine has previously been buried alive and encased in a block of ice, and said his latest feat was both the hardest and "the most beautiful" thing he's done. His box was said to contain only a quilt, a pillow, a journal, a change of clothes and a photo of his mother.
A medical briefing issued Saturday said the magician was experiencing dizziness and nausea, and warned that he might die if he resumes normal eating habits too soon after his exit.
Before he entered the box, Blaine said he had bulked up to more than 205 pounds so he could survive on his own body fat.
Dehydration also was a threat, but Marinos Elia, a professor at the Institute of Human Nutrition at the University of Southampton, said the magician had been drinking enough water to prevent that. Elia had been monitoring Blaine's condition.
Skeptics have suggested Blaine could easily add some nutrients to his water, but the medical briefing said tests for alcohol, glucose and sodium had found nothing.
In the box suspended 40 feet above the Thames' south bank, cold nights have had a draining effect on Blaine, and he has experienced shooting pains, dizziness, nausea and irregular heartbeats, Elia said.