Blues guitarist Jeff Healey recovering from lung cancer surgery
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 | 5:45 PM ET
The Canadian Press
The Toronto-based blues-rock musician Jeff Healey is recovering from surgery to remove cancerous tissue from both lungs.
Healey's publicist said the celebrated blind guitarist underwent a major operation Thursday and is recuperating in a Toronto hospital with family at his side.
Richard Flohil said Healey was diagnosed with lung cancer in December but chose to keep the news private until now.
He said doctors report a successful operation, and noted they caught the disease early due to regular testing.
Flohil said Healey is in good spirits and eager to return to the stage soon.
Healey, an occasional smoker, lost his eye sight to retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that left him blind in both eyes by age one. In the past 18 months, he's also undergone two operations to remove two sarcomas in his left leg.
"He varies like anybody in this situation between grumpy and depressed about it to being very positive," Flohil said of Healey's mood. "Most of the time he's pretty positive."
"As Jeff says, 'I've had 40 good years, you get a bump every now and then.'"
The operation comes just days after Healey celebrated the opening of a new blues club in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District. He performed at a gala opening of Jeff Healey's Roadhouse on Jan. 9, an opening that was originally scheduled for Jan. 10 but moved up to allow time to prepare for surgery on Jan. 11.
Flohil said Healey was eager to play guitar again with his blues-rock outfit The Jeff Healey Band and his classic jazz group, Jeff Healey and the Jazz Wizards, with whom he plays trumpet and guitar.
It wasn't clear how the most recent operation would affect Healey's ability to play trumpet.
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