Transformer: Lou Reed 'bigger and stronger than ever' after liver transplant


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The Independent Culture

Lou Reed has described himself as “bigger and stronger than ever” just weeks after undergoing a liver transplant. The former Velvet Underground frontman, whose wife Laurie Anderson said last week was  “dying” of liver failure, credits a mixture of tai chi and modern medicine with his recovery.

Writing on his website Reed, 71, described himself as “a triumph of modern medicine, physics and chemistry,” adding: “My Chen Taiji [tai chi] and health regimen (sic) has served me well all of these years.”

The performer added that he is looking forward to “being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future”.

The American punk musician underwent a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Cleveland a few weeks ago. His wife Anderson, a performance artist, told The Times last week that she had “been spending a lot of time in Cleveland these past few weeks” since the operation, but that the operation “went very well”. She said her husband’s condition is “as serious as it gets” and that, despite progress and successful surgery, he “[won’t] ever totally recover”.

Reed has been a student of tai chi for around 30 years and began studying the Chen style in 2002. Speaking about this Master Ren Guang-yi, Reed told Kung Fu magazine: "When I saw what he did, I said, 'Oh my god, a man who can fly. When I saw that combination of grace and power, the fast and the soft, the yin and the yang, that's what I'd been looking for."

The musician, who famously chronicled the drug culture and underbelly of New York on his 1964 song “Heroin” and “Perfect Day”, from his 1972 solo record Transformer, is also known for “Walk On The Wild Side”.

He was last seen in public in March when he made a surprise appearance at a live playback of Transformer, but he then unexpectedly cancelled five concert appearances in April, including two performances at the Coachella festival in California. His most recent album is Lulu, a 2011 collaboration with Metallica.