Wilko Johnson was expected to live only until October, but the veteran guitarist has survived a nine-hour-long surgery to remove a massive tumor.
The former rock legend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2012.
Wilko underwent an operation that is so new that it hasn’t even been named.
The 66-year-old’s manager Lisa Climie confirmed on Thursday via The Who’s Facebook, with Wilko recently working with Roger Daltrey, that the guitarist was in recovery.
In the statement Climie said, “Wilko is recovering following a nine hour operation on Wednesday in which doctors successfully removed a pancreatic tumor. The head of the medical team treating Wilko said that they were happy with his condition. Wilko will stay under very close observation for the next few days. Although cautiously optimistic the team have to stress that it is very early days yet. The family thank everyone for their good wishes and ask for some privacy at this time so they can support Wilko with his recovery in peace.”
Wilko, who made his acting debut as a mute executioner Ilyn Payne on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, had been told he had only ten months to live after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in Decmeber 2012.
At the time, Johnson had decided not to pursue treatment options as chemotherapy offered him just a few additional months.
Wilko explained to GQ, “October was my deadline – if I can use that word – but October had come and gone and a friend of mine – who is both a photographer and a cancer doctor – became curious as to why I wasn’t dead. And why I wasn’t even sick.”
It was then discovered Wilko’s pancreatic cancer is a neuroendocrine tumor, a rare form of malignancy that is less aggressive than the usual kind of pancreatic cancer.
The British rock legend decided to undergo surgery, revealing doctors would not only remove the “football-sized tumor” but also his pancreas, spleen, part of his stomach and parts of both his small and large intestines.
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