Artist News

Wilko Johnson making ‘excellent progress’ following cancer operation

By | Published on Wednesday 4 June 2014

Wilko Johnson

Rock guitarist Wilko Johnson is said to be convalescing at home in “excellent” style following a major operation to treat his long-standing pancreatic cancer.

A statement on the Facebook page of Johnson’s one-time band Dr Feelgood earlier this week says: “Naturally after such an extensive procedure, Wilko is extremely tired, and it will take him some time to recuperate, so he asks that you respect his privacy, but we had to share this incredibly positive news”.

The statement adds: “On behalf of Wilko and his family, another huge thank you for your magnificent support over recent months – it really means a great deal to Wilko – and please join us in thanking the staff at Addenbrooke’s [Hospital, in Cambridge] for everything they have achieved in some extremely difficult circumstances”.

Johnson was, of course, diagnosed with cancer in 2012, with doctors believing at first that it was terminal, and giving him less than a year to live. None of which stopped him from touring constantly, and making a collaborative LP, ‘Going Back Home’, with The Who’s Roger Daltrey. Then last month Johnson’s prognosis improved with the discovery that his cancer was of a rare, slow-growing kind, prompting a radical op involving the removal of his entire pancreas, half of his stomach, and various other organs.

Having spoken to Johnson after the procedure last month, Roger Daltrey told Absolute Radio: “I know that Wilko’s recovery process is probably going to be six months. I said to him, ‘Come on, write some more songs, let’s think of something, sort the songs out for the next record’. I reckon two months in he’ll at least have the strength to play, [and to] get that boredom and all that angst out on the guitar. So the studio could be easy for him and it might be a nice stepping-stone back to full recovery”.