Budgie’s Burke Shelley refuses surgery for life-threatening aortic aneurysm

Budgie, with Burke Shelley far right, in 1974
Budgie, with Burke Shelley far right, in 1974 (Image credit: Ian Dickson/Redferns - Getty)

Budgie’s Burke Shelley says he’s turned down surgery for an aortic aneurysm as he fears having an operation could result in spinal damage, which could leave him in a wheelchair.

The condition causes a bulge in the wall of the aorta – the main artery which carries blood between the heart and the rest of the body.

Wales Online report that the vocalist and bassist was diagnosed with a six centimetre aortic aneurysm a decade ago, and the condition has now recurred – but Shelley is determined to carry on as normal.

He says: "Doctors have informed me I've got another aneurysm, a critical one, even higher up my aorta this time. It’s been there for more than six months. They've said they definitely need to operate on it straight away, but I've told them no.

"I'm 70 next month and want to live what life I have left and not be crippled.”

Shelley adds: “I've got faith in God and have no worries about where I'm going. So I'll just go when He decides to take me and, in the meantime, I'll carry on doing what I want to do. Simple as that."

Shelley says the surgery he had in 2010 for the condition resulted in damage to his diaphragm, leaving him unable to sing properly.

However, he reports he has unfinished material featuring vocals from 10 years ago that he hopes to release as an album at some point in the future.

Budgie's final studio album was You're All Living in Cuckooland which was released in 2006.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.