Influential guitarist Wilko Johnson, formerly of British pub rock band Dr. Feelgood, has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and only has months to live. Announcing the news on Facebook , Johnson's manager Robert Hoy said the rocker had decided against chemotherapy.
"He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity," Hoy said.
The guitarist will spend those months performing in Japan and France, followed by a series of farewell shows in the UK. A final studio album is also in the works, according to Hoy's statement.
Johnson co-founded Dr. Feelgood in 1971 and performed on the band's first four studio albums, including 1975's "Down By the Jetty" and their lone UK No. 1, 1976's "Stupidity." His no-pick, open handed playing technique and frantic stage persona were integral to the band's appeal. The group's back-to-basics R&B/rock style eased the path from glam to punk.
Since leaving Dr. Feelgood in 1977, Johnson has gone on to front his own band, The Wilko Johnson Band, and he was briefly a member of Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
Music aside, Johnson has branched into acting in recent years and scored the role as a mute executioner on HBO's "Game of Thrones." He appeared in four episodes of the hit fantasy series. "Next up I'd like to play a bit of Shakespeare," he said in a 2011 interview with the Halstead Gazette . "I'm a bit old for Romeo or Hamlet, but King Lear perhaps?"
Full Statement on Johnson's Health:
I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy.
He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity.
He has just set off on a trip to Japan; on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.
Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience.
- News