Wilko has terminal cancer
Keeping going: Wilko Johnson
Wilko Johnson has terminal cancer, it’s been confirmed.
The 65-year-old former Dr Feelgood guitarist has refused chemotherapy and aims to keep performing concerts for as long as he can.
In a statement on Johnson’s Facebook page manager Robert Hoy says: “I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy.
“He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity.
“He has just set off on a trip to Japan; on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.
“Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience.”
Johnson was forced to cancel a homecoming gig in Canvey Island late last year due to a mystery illness.
He left the Feelgoods in 1977 and pursued a successful solo career. In recent years he’s branched out into acting, playing mute executioner Ilyn Payne in hit TV series Game Of Thrones. He believes he got the role as a result of his appearance in award-winning Feelgoods documentary Oil City Confidential. He last year described acting work as “interesting” but added: “I’m wearing chain mail, which is incredibly heavy and uncomfortable. That’s bad enough, but if I try to sit down, this big sword on my back gets in my way.”
His new wave of popularity has led to a Facebook campaign aiming to have the keen amateur astronomer installed as the late Sir Patrick Moore’s replacement on long-running BBC show The Sky At Night.
Johnson’s wife Irene Knight died of cancer in 2004. Since then he’s been fundraising in her memory for research into the killer disease.