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
  • Get to the point
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: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power