Former Beatle Has Surgery for Cancer
LONDON - Former Beatle George Harrison has undergone lung cancer surgery in the United States, the singer's lawyers said.
Harrison, 58, had surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs, according to the lawyers.
The lawyers did not say when the surgery occurred. They said in a statement issued Thursday that the operation went according to plan and that Harrison was relaxing in Tuscany, Italy.
"The operation was successful and George has made an excellent recovery. He is in the best of spirits and on top form - the most relaxed and free since the attack on him in 1999," the lawyers' statement said. The statement said Harrison had a growth removed from his lung and the lawyers later told the British news agency Press Association that it had been cancerous.
In 1999, Harrison suffered a punctured lung when he was stabbed by a man who broke into his home in Henley-on-Thames, west of London. A 34-year-old man, Michael Abram, was acquitted by reason of insanity and confined to a mental hospital.
Referring to the star's rereleased album, the statement continued: "Although All Things Must Pass Away, George has no plans right now and is still Living In The Material World, and wishes everyone all the very best, God Bless and not to worry."
A cancer specialist commented Thursday that surgical removal of a cancerous tumor in the lung - as opposed to radiation treatment or chemotherapy - suggested it was small and isolated.
"He had surgery, so the hope is that it was detected early and is cured," said Dr. Ronald Blum, director of the cancer center at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
Harrison was treated for throat cancer in the late 1990s after he found a lump on his neck in 1997.
He had surgery then, followed by two courses of radiation therapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Britain's leading cancer treatment center.
"I got it purely from smoking," he later said. "I gave up cigarettes many years ago, but had started again for a while and then stopped in 1997."
"Luckily for me they found that this nodule was more of a warning than anything else. There are many different types of cancerous cells and this was a very basic type," he said at the time.
Speaking earlier this year, the intensely private Harrison said: "I had a little throat cancer. I had a piece of my lung removed in 1997. And then I was almost murdered.
"But I seem to feel stronger. I don't smoke any more. I'm a little more short of breath than I used to be, so I don't see myself on stage lasting a full 14 rounds."
The Beatles broke up in 1970 and Harrison, the youngest and quietest of the Fab Four went on to a successful solo career with hits including "My Sweet Lord."
Former Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed more than 20 years ago in New York City. Besides Harrison, two other ex-Beatles survive - Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.