IRON MAIDEN‘s 71-year-old drummer Nicko McBrain has revealed the news of a medical episode he had in January – in a statement posted via MAIDEN‘s official web site – which details how he suffered a stroke earlier this year, which left him “paralyzed” down one side of his body and left him “worried” that his career with the band was over.
McBrain‘s statement reads as follows: “I hope this message finds you all well!
“The reason I’m writing to you all today is to let you know of a very serious health problem that I have been through. In January I had a stroke, thank the Lord it was a minor one referred to as a TIA. It left me paralyzed on my right side from my shoulder on down, of course I was very worried that my career was over but with the love and support from my wife, Rebecca and family, my doctors, especially Julie my OT (Occupational Therapist),and my MAIDEN family I was able to bounce back to somewhere near 70% recovered. After 10 weeks of intense therapy it was almost time to start rehearsals for our tour.
“I feel it’s important to let you know about this now instead of earlier as I was mainly concerned with doing my job and concentrating on getting back to 100% fitness. I’m not there yet but by the grace of God I’m getting better and stronger as the weeks go by.
“Thank you all for a most wonderful and magical tour so far, you have all been so amazing.
“Well that’s it from me. God bless you all, stay safe and well and I look forward to seeing you all somewhere in time. 🙂 :-)”
Manager Rod Smallwood added: “The rest of the band and l think that what Nicko has been able to achieve since his stroke shows incredible belief and willpower and we are all very proud of him. With this new and musically very complex set to learn ahead of him, he just got his head down and concentrated on recovery. We honestly did not know if he would be able to play a whole show until band rehearsals started in May and there was just so much support for him from the band and then genuine relief for all when we saw he was going to be able to do it!
“Nicko being Nicko he did not want to make a fuss and cause any distraction to the tour at the time but, now that he is sure he will soon get there, he thought you fans should know straight from him rather than by any rumours! We are all of course delighted he battled through this so well and look forward to many more tours together starting with the three Western Canada shows and Power Trip in California coming up in a couple of months time. We can’t wait! This tour is that good!”
McBrain was diagnosed with stage 1 laryngeal cancer in 2020 and opened up about it in a single interview in 2021 but otherwise kept it mostly under wraps. The now-71-year-old musician received his cancer diagnosis after undergoing an endoscopy at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University Of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine. Within a week, McBrain‘s cancer was surgically removed and he now gets check-ups every few months to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.