JETHRO TULL frontman Ian Anderson has clarified his diagnosis of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), an incurable lung disease that he first revealed during an appearance on Dan Rather's "The Big Interview".
The 72-year-old musician made his health condition public during a discussion that aired Wednesday night on AXS TV. The singer said he has gone 18 months without an exacerbation, saying he has treated his condition by medicating, avoiding areas with heavy pollution and continuing to keep his lungs fit by pushing them to their limits.
Earlier today, Anderson released the following statement: "Thanks for your concern but no worries about my diagnosed COPD and asthma. I have had 14 months with no infections and no bronchitis so last year was the first since my 20s when I didn't get sick at all. The conditions I have are early-stage and I plan to keep them that way.
"I really meant when talking to Dan Rather last September that my days as a singer were numbered, rather than days to live! After all, I am 73 years old this August! But I should be OK for a few more years if COVID-19 doesn't get me first.
"I am at no more risk of catching the COVID virus than anyone else. Just that the results could be much worse than if I was 17 or even 27. If anything, I am less likely to catch it than many people as I have been practising very safe hygiene for years and social distancing is a way of life for me! I am well rehearsed in public spaces, restaurants, hotels etc. Only flying causes me concern. But I have all the best gels, sprays, masks and facial protection ready for if and when the time comes to embark into the real world professionally.
"A mild COPD or asthma are just things to live with for the millions around the world who suffer. But no impact at all on my daily life as long as I don't catch a cold or flu virus and suffer the subsequent heavy bronchitis which, for me, historically follows since I was a young man. But on the upside I don't suffer from hemorrhoids or erectile disfunction. So, things are looking up, not down — puns fully intended."
Anderson formed a blues and jazz fusion band in the mid-60s and the name changed frequently until an agent, with an interest in history, booked them as JETHRO TULL, and the name stuck. Ian took up the flute, as he felt he would never match Eric Clapton as a guitarist as and, with a coat purchased to keep out the cold in a draughty bedsit, the image of the tousled, flute-wielding minstrel was born.
JETHRO TULL became one of the most distinctive and original bands to fall under the "progressive rock" umbrella and that still sets them apart as one of the best-loved bands of the genre.