Paul Di’Anno says a “rugby ball-sized abscess” on his lungs turned out not to be cancer.
The former Iron Maiden frontman, 58, is living in a care home in his home town of Salisbury, England, as he recovers from an operation to remove the non-malignant abscess.
He expects to be in care for up to eight weeks and says that he could have to wait six months for an urgent knee replacement operation.
After an interview with his friend and fellow former Maiden singer Blaze Bayley was reported on this week, fans were worried that Di’Anno was battling cancer. But he insists that is not the case.
Di’Anno tells Classic Rock: “I collapsed at home after coming back from Argentina and a scan found a massive big black shadow on my lungs. I thought I was on my way out, but it turned out to be non-malignant.
“It was an abscess that was all infected and the size of a rugby ball. It turns out I’ve been living with this thing in me for the last few years.
“The doctors said it was an airborne thing that caused the infection and I could have picked it up anywhere.
“I had to go into recovery after the operation and rather than go back to my home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I stayed here in England and I’m now in a care home.”
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Di’Anno says Bayley’s interview is out of date and that he was simply reporting on what the situation was at the time, when Di’Anno feared he might have cancer.
After the surgery, Di’Anno’s immediate worry is his left knee, which he says needs to be replaced but that can’t happen until doctors are sure he is free of the infection linked to the abscess.
“I’m getting a lot of physiotherapy on my left knee, so that they can try get me back on my walking sticks again,” he says. “I’ve already had the other knee replaced and once this one is done I will be fine.
“It’s very, very painful right now and I have been quite depressed. I’m on 30 pills a day and in a wheelchair. But everyone says I’m looking better. I’m trying to stay positive.
“I suppose I’m pretty damn lucky, but the last six months have been hard.”
He says the messages of support from fans have kept him in good spirits. “I really want to thank everyone for all the texts and messages I’ve been given. I don’t see these people as fans, they are my brothers and sisters and it really means a lot to me.”