Ian Anderson revealed he’s suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was diagnosed with the lung condition a couple of years ago. The legendary Jethro Tull leader made the comments on Dan Rather’s The Big Interview, which was broadcast on May 13th on AXS TV.
In a video clip from the show, Anderson says: “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anybody in public before – I am suffering from an incurable lung disease which I was diagnosed with a couple of years back. I do struggle. I have what are called exacerbations – periods when I get an infection that turns into severe bronchitis and I have maybe two or three weeks when it’s really a tough job to go out there on stage and play. Fingers crossed, I’ve gone 18 months now without an exacerbation and I’m on medication. If I’m kept in a reasonably pollution-free environment in terms of air quality, I do OK. But my days are numbered. It’s not yet at the point that it affects my day to day life – I can still run for the bus.”
Asked what the prognosis is, Anderson replies: “Fight it all the way – keep using as much of your lung power as you’re lucky enough to have and push it to the limit all the time. The minute you settle back and say, ‘I can’t do this any more,’ it’s a slippery slope. The answer is keep pushing. I spend 50 years of my life on stage among those wretched things that I call smoke machines. Today, they’re politely referred to as hazers, as if they’re somehow innocent and not damaging to you lungs. I really do believe that’s a very significant part of the problem I have.”