Wilko Johnson, diagnosed with terminal cancer, undergoes pioneering operation which could save his life

Guitarist Wilko Johnson, who was told he had 10 months to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, has undergone a pioneering major operation which it is hoped could save his life.

Johnson, 66, has pulled out of Glastonbury Festival and other live shows as a result of the operation.

He has previously refused to undergo chemotherapy, but despite his ongoing illness he has continued to perform and record. The musician recently had a top three album, "Going Back Home", a collaboration with The Who’s Roger Daltrey.

However it had become apparent in recent months that the cancer was not as aggressive as first thought, but without intervention he would still have died.

After seeking further advice, Johnson has undergone a complex operation, performed at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The procedure involves the removal of the tumour with his pancreas, spleen, a section of his stomach and intestines and some of the blood vessels to his liver.

In an interview with GQ before he went in for the procedure, he said: “There is a small chance of dying, but that's nothing. Because for over a year I have been living with a 100 per cent chance of dying.”

He said he was still coming to terms with the fact his life could be saved: “It’s unreal to me. I'm going to have to readjust my mind as well as my body.”

A spokesman for Johnson said: “Doctors are hopeful that following the surgery the prognosis for Wilko will be positive.” The star, who found fame with Dr Feelgood, is going to be “out of action for the foreseeable future”, according to a statement issued on his behalf.

Johnson made a public appearance at the Music Week Awards in London last week to support Daltrey who was receiving an award for his charity work for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

In addition to his Glastonbury show, Johnson is cancelling his Reading/Leeds Festival shows as well as other UK and European dates.

The musician, who has also appeared in television hit Game Of Thrones, has talked of having a sense of “euphoria” after being given his diagnosis, feeling a new joy for life.

Just last November, Johnson told The Independent: “I'm supposed to be dead now. When I was diagnosed they gave me 10 months. But they can't cure this thing so the illness will take its inexorable toll. I have gone past their deadline but it is ultimately going to kill me. So I want to get as much done now as I can.”

Johnson said then that he had refused chemotherapy treatment so that he would have the strength to complete a "farewell tour" this spring, where he basked in the adoration of fans.

He joked that his farewell tour could get "embarrassing" if it extended into another year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'