Wilko Johnson is 'cancer free'

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 22 October 2014
Wilko Johnson

Wilko Johnson

Legendary guitarist Wilko Johnson has announced he is "cancer free" after undergoing radical surgery to remove a tumour on his pancreas earlier this year

Wilko Johnson announced he is cancer free at the Q Awards today (22.10.14).

The legendary guitarist was presented with the Icon Award at the ceremony held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London and told the crowd during his acceptance speech that he has been "cured" of terminal pancreatic cancer after undergoing radical surgery in April.

Upon being presented with his award by Madness singer Suggs, the 67-year-old star said: "It's been an extraordinary couple of years. At the beginning of last year I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I had about two months to live."

The singer admitted he got "quick a kick" when he realised he might never perform again while on stage at the Fuji Rocks Festival in Japan lat year.

He said: "We walked out onto the stage and the clouds opened and the sun came shining down. I was looking and I was thinking, 'this might be the last one I ever do.' It's quite a kick I can tell you."

Pausing for a standing ovation from the guests, which included Kasabian, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, Johnny Marr and Ed Sheeran, Wilko then explained how his life was saved by a fan, who is also a cancer specialist.

He said: "Roger Daltrey got in touch with me and said, 'I want to do an album.' I said, 'You better to do it quick!'

"We did do it quick, we did it right at the end of last year. I was thinking, 'Wow, it ain't been bad, I'm now in extra time. This is great, I'm having a really good year and if the last thing I ever do is make an album with Roger Daltrey that's pretty good. I can go home and die.' "

He added: "Then comes Charlie Chan. Charlie is a photographer and a cancer doctor, who has taken an interest in my case - he's very curious as to why I'm not dead. He says, 'Listen, can you go and see my friends at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, and let them have a look at it.'

"This tumour at this stage is huge, it's so big it makes my guitar point the wrong way on stage. So I went to the hospital and they ran the tests again and I get told they think they can do it, and they did it."

Pausing for another standing ovation, he continued: "So I had an 11-hour operation and they took this tumour out of me, it weighed three kilos, that's the size of a baby, I was carrying it on stage every night. They got it all and cured me, so thank you Addenbrooke's. I spent several weeks in hospital and I remember people telling me, 'The Roger Daltrey album is doing really well.' But I missed all that! A few weeks ago, I came home and I'm hoping to regain my strength completely soon and get back on the road. If there's a moral to this story it's that you never know what can happen."

Wilko Johnson

The redoubtable Dr Feelgood guitarist and band rock it up Canvey Island-style; after undergoing radical surgery to treat his hitherto-believed-to-be terminal cancer, the indomitable Johnson is back, minus one pancreas but with added vim and vigour.

The Assembly, Leamington Spa

Sat 25 Aug

£28.50 / 0845 888 7581

Cottingham Civic Hall

Fri 24 Aug

£40.50 / 01482 392706

The Leadmill, Sheffield

Thu 23 Aug

£27.50 / 0114 221 2828

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