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Ian Anderson thanks fans and clarifies comments about his COPD diagnosis

Ian Anderson
Ian Anderson (Image credit: Stuart Wood)

Earlier this week, Ian Anderson revealed that he had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Jethro Tull leader broke the news on AXS TV’s The Big Interview with Dan Rather, which was broadcast in the US last night, with Anderson saying: “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anybody in public before – I am suffering from an incurable lung disease which I was diagnosed with a couple of years back."

In the interview, Anderson went on to say: “I do struggle. I have what are called exacerbations – periods when I get an infection that turns into severe bronchitis and I have maybe two or three weeks when it’s really a tough job to go out there on stage and play.

“Fingers crossed, I’ve gone 18 months now without an exacerbation and I’m on medication. If I’m kept in a reasonably pollution-free environment in terms of air quality, I do OK. But my days are numbered.”

Anderson has now moved to clarify some of the comments he made, while also thanking fans for their support.

Anderson says in a statement: “Thanks for your concern but no worries about my diagnosed COPD and asthma. I have had 14 months with no infections and no bronchitis so last year was the first since my 20s when I didn’t get sick at all. 

Thanks for your concern but no worries about my diagnosed COPD and asthma

Ian Anderson

“The conditions I have are early-stage and I plan to keep them that way.

“I really meant when talking to Dan Rather last September that my days as a singer were numbered, rather than days to live! After all, I am 73 years old this August! But I should be OK for a few more years if COVID-19 doesn’t get me first. 

“I am at no more risk of catching the COVID virus than anyone else. Just that the results could be much worse than if I was 17 or even 27. If anything, I am less likely to catch it than many people as I have been practising very safe hygiene for years and social distancing is a way of life for me! I am well rehearsed in public spaces, restaurants, hotels etc."

Anderson adds: “Only flying causes me concern. But I have all the best gels, sprays, masks and facial protection ready for if and when the time comes to embark into the real world professionally. 

“A mild COPD or asthma are just things to live with for the millions around the world who suffer. But no impact at all on my daily life as long as I don’t catch a cold or flu virus and suffer the subsequent heavy bronchitis which, for me, historically follows since I was a young man. 

“But on the upside I don’t suffer from hemorrhoids or erectile disfunction. So, things are looking up, not down – puns fully intended.”

Last month, Anderson guested on The Eden House singer Louise Patricia Crane’s new single Ophelia.