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

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot