Glass Tiger Frontman Recovering After Stroke Paralyzes His Right Side

Alan Frew of Glass Tiger performing in Toronto in 1988.
Jeff Vinnick/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Alan Frew of Glass Tiger performing in Toronto in 1988.

Glass Tiger frontman Alan Frew, whose Canadian band had two top 10 Billboard hits in the 80s with “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)” and “Someday,” suffered a minor stroke last week that caused paralysis on his right side. He is expected to be released from a Toronto hospital today to begin a months of recovery.

His recording of an '80s covers album is on hold until then.

Frew revealed the news personally on Instagram, calling it “the fight of my life” (see full statement below). In a televised interview with local station City from his hospital bed at North York General, he demonstrated his progress.

“I can lift my leg a little bit and my hand’s come back a little better. I can touch like that,” Frew said, putting fingertips to thumb tip. He also showed the rapid improvement to his handwriting, by showing different attempts at writing the lyrics to “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone).” An early one was illegible; a few days later it was significantly better.

The 58-year-old begins the interview by saying, “I told my son that if I lose my speech and become sort of vegetative that I’d rather die. I’d rather die than live like that.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, a stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A quick response to the signs is crucial to survival and a good prognosis.

Frew, who had been prescribed medications for cholesterol and hypertension but stopped taking them, suspects that might have been the cause.

“I stupidly told myself I didn’t need that medication and that’s the price I’ve had to pay for it. I’ve been brought here to North York General. Walked in myself, undressed myself. None of it had happened yet and then all hell broke loose and it just hit. I was completely paralyzed on my right side.”

His speech was normal in the interview and he pushed his voice a bit, optimistic it will return. “I know it’s there,” he said. “It’s just going to take a little bit of work.”

Glass Tiger formed just north of Toronto in Newmarket in 1983 and made its debut album, The Thin Red Line, with Jim Vallance, released on Capitol in 1986. “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone),” which featured Bryan Adams on backing vocals, reached No. 2 in the U.S. “Someday” was No. 7 in the U.S. The album earned a gold certification in the States and went four-times platinum at home.

The band had additional hits with “I'm Still Searching” and “Diamond Sun” from 1988’s Diamond Sun, and “Animal Heart” and “My Town (feat. Rod Stewart)” from 1991’s Simple Mission. Glass Tiger continues to perform live and Frew has released a couple of solo albums, 1994’s Hold On and 2000’s Wonderland .

Below is Frew’s original post to Instagram:

This my friends is one of the toughest stories I have ever had to write not only because I am right- handed and I am typing to you with my left but because what I am going to tell you is very difficult for me but I want you to hear it from me directly and not from the rumour mill.

On Thursday I suffered a stroke. That's right. A clot in my brain. This will now be the fight of my life. I am alive, obviously, and have all my brain power. I have suffered right-sided trauma but I am fighting the Warrior's fight already. I AM A WARRIOR make no mistake about that and I WILL release the beautiful CD I have worked so hard on and I WILL perform it live for you ASAP ....this I promise you.

Those of you who pray by all means do so and those of you like me who don't send me your energy and I will use it all to return to you as soon as I can. Stroke is NOT an age disease be you 15, 25, or 55. Stroke is a human condition. I am lucky and I will treasure that. I will see you all soon enough when I PERISCOPE one day and I WILL sing for you again, fear not. You guys are a major part of my journey back. Peace & Love Alan