Richards concussed after fall from coconut tree

As a man who once admitted treating his body as a "human chemical laboratory", the veteran rocker Keith Richards has grown accustomed to the occasional unscheduled hospital visit. But in the latest scrape, spectacular even by his standards, he needed a brain scan after falling out of a coconut tree.

"Keef", as the Rolling Stone guitarist is lovingly known, was holidaying at the luxurious Club Resort on Wakaya, Fiji, when he and fellow Stone Ronnie Wood decided to explore the same tree. The consequences were spectacular. Half-way up Richards - reformed heroin addict and one-time hellraiser - slipped and fell to the ground, severely banging his head in the process.

The concussed musician, who will need no reminding that his band's hits have included "Tumbling Dice" and "Fool to Cry", seems to have made light of the scrape and, according to some reports, proceeded to engage in a high-speed session on his jet-ski. But two days later, still feeling the effects, he was flown from the resort to Nausori airport near Suva, the capital of Fiji, where he was treated at a private hospital.

He was transferred to Ascot hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, where he has remained with his wife. According to some reports yesterday, he was still there, awaiting test results.

The accident happened last week, shortly after the Stones had played Wellington as part of their Bigger Bang world tour, which moves to Europe next month. He and his wife, Patti Hansen, had retreated to the Fijian island with their close friends Wood and his wife, Jo.

The Stones' management was reluctant to discuss details of the incident. "Following treatment locally and as a precautionary measure he flew to a hospital accompanied by his wife, Patti, for observation," said a spokeswoman for the musician, who added that she did not know how the accident happened.

New Zealand's Sunday Star Times reported that Richards was being treated in a hospital in Auckland and that he was conscious, mobile and had not undergone surgery. "I've been told it is probably just something mild but we can't yet rule out that it is not something more serious," a friend reportedly said. "It all depends on the outcome of the tests."

Richards' fellow residents had sympathy for him. "Picking coconuts is quite common on the island," said one. "It's just that Keith had a bit of an accident coming down."

Richards, 62, is no stranger to unexpected injuries. In 1998, the band had to delay a tour after he fell off a ladder while trying to retrieve a book in the library of his Connecticut mansion. He damaged his ribs and chest and there were even fears he had punctured a lung when he fell while stretching amid the library's floor-to-ceiling shelves. His agent said he "had not been drinking".

Wood, who appears to have escaped without injury from their tree adventure, will sympathise. He had to be rescued at sea off Brazil last month after a fire broke out on a motor cruiser which was taking him sightseeing. The American leg of the band's Bridges To Babylon tour was similarly disrupted after Jagger suffered a throat infection.

Stones fans must wait to hear whether Richards' injury will affect the European leg of the tour, which opens at Barcelona's Olympic stadium and will take in 34 dates. The tour is on course to break box-office records and has taken Richards' estimated annual earnings up to £180m on the back of the exceptional receipts.

The accompanying album has won a Grammy. The Stones will be playing four concerts in the UK including Twickenham in west London on 20 August. They will also play in Sheffield and Glasgow, finishing off at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. There are plans to insert hundreds of seats into the stadium set so fans can be on stage during the performance.

Recent comments from Richards suggested that the band will continue to live exuberantly on tour. "Retire? I can't spell the word," the guitar legend said recently. "I'd play on in a wheelchair. This is what we do. Otherwise, what's life all about?"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Novelist Martin Amis at The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

books
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'

After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violence

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams will be given a 'meaningful remembrance' at the Emmy Awards

film
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music
Arts and Entertainment
Blue singer Simon Webbe will be confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing

tv
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch will voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' movie take on The Jungle Book

film
Arts and Entertainment
DJ Calvin Harris performs at the iHeartRadio Music Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition