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Tracey Emin recovering in Thailand after her ‘intestine nearly exploded’

Visual artist, who has undergone several surgeries following a cancer diagnosis in 2020, said she experienced ‘horrible complications’ exacerbated by flying

Ellie Muir
Monday 18 December 2023 09:25 GMT
Tracey Emin's bed returns to Tate Britain - London Live

Renowned British artist Tracey Emin is recovering from sickness after her small intestine “nearly exploded” while she was in Thailand.

Emin, 60, best known for her autobiographical and confessional artwork,  was diagnosed with cancer in 2020 and subsequently underwent a series of major surgeries, including a full hysterectomy. In April 2021, she shared that the cancer was “gone” after the surgery.

On Sunday (17 December) Emin shared on Instagram that she has been “very unwell” after she experienced “horrible complications” while travelling from Australia to Thailand.

“Not cancer but horrible complications with my intestines brought on by an infection, scar tissue and made a million times worse by flying,” she said.

“My small intestine nearly exploded. Luckily for me, I was in Thailand on my way back from Australia, so I spent a few days in a very good hospital… and now recovering in luxury,” she wrote, thanking a hospital and luxury hotel on the Thai island of Phuket.

Emin said that sickness had used up “another” of her “nine lives”.

In November, the visual artist told The Times that she had “totally accepted death”.

The Turner Prize nominee said: “I think accepting death on such a profound level was what’s kept me alive. I thought, you know what? Death looks after itself. We all die – now I’ll look after living.

“I realised that my life has never really been living. I’ve been just dying. I’ve been so nihilistic. I thought, this is gonna change – if I get through this I want to look forward to things and I want to be present.”

Following multiple surgeries, Emin has a stoma and uses a urostomy bag, which she will need to use for the rest of her life.

Emin alongside a piece titled ‘Wet’ (PA)

On International Women’s Day in March, Emin penned a powerful personal essay in The Independent about her relationship with her body after surgery. In it, the artist admitted that she initially “hated” her stoma bag, “but most days I’m philosophical; knowing that it keeps me alive”.

She recalled: “One of my greatest golden moments was when my entire bag came off in Chanel on Bond Street: a tsunami of p*** cascading down my body crashing to the champagne-carpeted floor. Everyone was lovely and understood, Chanel even sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers.”

For the article published in The Independent, Emin created an exclusive acrylic on canvas artwork, titled “Marriage to Myself”.

She also shared a candid photograph of herself standing in front of a full-length mirror with her white urostomy bag visible.

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