Neil Young Suffers Brain Aneurysm: Long May You Run!
2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony photo by Julie Jacobson
Sadly, this is not a cruel April Fool's Day joke.
Thrasher could only wish this was just a prank but it appears to be true that Neil has had a brain aneurysm and is now recovering. As news reports started filtering out yesterday, I could only stare in disbelief and not wanting to believe and awaiting word that this was some sort of sick humor virus gone amuck.
However, all major media (over 250 citations), are now reporting that Neil's health is recovering after brain surgery. Young's vision became blurry while attending the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies and had a checkup which discovered a brain aneurysm. Though he remains hospitalized, Young is expected to make a full recovery.
(See continuous real-time news updates on Neil's health which appear here in right sidebar of major Neil Young news feeds. --> )
However, he will not perform Sunday at the Canadian Grammys Awards program Junos.
The good news is that doctors expect Young to make a full recovery from a brain aneurysm. Young said in a statement:
"I'm really disappointed that I won't be able to make it to Winnipeg for the Junos as I had hoped. I grew up there and was really looking forward to the show as well as spending some time with my old friends and family.
Thanks to my doctors, I'm feeling a lot better now so I hope I can get a rain check."
Agent Bob Merlis said in a statement:
"The procedure corrected the problem and has been characterized as a complete success with a total recovery. And resumption of normal activities by the 59-year-old rock legend is predicted for the near future."
A neurologist gave Young an MRI scan, discovered the aneurysm and scheduled the procedure for this week. Young traveled to Nashville for recording work before returning to New York for the procedure.
"He is now resting comfortably and has made a full recovery, but we strongly recommend that he not travel for several days," said Dr. Pierre Gobin with the New York-Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Fellow Winnipeg rocker Randy Bachman talked to Young on the phone yesterday and the Montreal Gazette reports that Young told Bachman:
"I'm OK. I could probably come and be carried on stage and play but I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me."
"I want to come back. I owe Winnipeg a gig and I owe the Junos a gig."
Needless to say, this has thrown the Juno organizers into scramble mode. Juno organizers plan to send Neil a "love letter" during Sunday's televised award show. Executive Producer John Brunton said:
"We have all pow-wowed together and I think we've come up with a beautiful love letter for Neil Young from all of us in Winnipeg and all of us at the show. It's very fitting."
Brunton added that Neil planned to play original material for the program.
"He didn't really want to do a vintage song. He wanted to bring new music to the table and show everybody that he's on the cutting edge."
Reaction has poured in from around the globe. Naturally, the Rusties are in a virtual meltdown over the news.
On Yahoo! Groups:Rust John posts:
"My first rection was that it was a very poor taste April Fool's joke .....when it became clear it was for real, I felt sick, but now it looks as though all will be well. Thank God for that."
Doc Don optimistically posts on Yahoo! Groups: Rust
"Cerebral aneurysms are fairly common, but most are well below the one centimeter size that puts them at risk to rupture.
I suspect Neil will do great."
Dave posts on Rust:
You're in our thoughts and prayers.
Get well and have a speedy recovery because we all need you fit and well.
All the best from the UK Rusties.
Triniman posts on Blogcritics:
"I can't think to too many musicians who have been as respected, as prolific and most importantly, as relevant for as long as Neil Young. He has a lot of contemporaries but no one would describe Young as a dinosaur or a 'has been'."
Emma posted on Rust:
"Because of my passion for Neil and his music I suppose I always think of him as immortal. It has shocked me big time.
Take it easy now Neil for a while. Have a good rest and really hope you feel fit and well real soon."
At the Junos, word of Neil's illness "spread like a wildfire" and the Winnipeg Sun reports on the reaction of attendee radio producer Bruce Ladan:
"I feel sick. The foundation of this year's Junos show has been, in a sense, pulled out from under us; however, Neil's health is of the utmost concern and I'm sure everyone in Winnipeg wishes him the best."
Thoughts and prayers to Neil and his family.
Long May You Run!
Comment below and wish Neil well.
UPDATE April 5, 2005 - k. d. lang Sings "Helpless" for Neil Young at Juno Awards