John Farnham is in a stable condition following an extensive surgery he underwent yesterday (August 23) to remove a cancerous tumour.
In an update from yesterday’s announcement on Farnham’s diagnosis, a statement from the singer’s wife Jillian revealed that he was in surgery for 11-and-a-half hours. “The cancer tumour was located in his mouth, and has been successfully removed,” Mrs. Farnham said.
“There is still a long road of recovery and healing ahead of us, but we know John is up for that task.”
In their own statement, Farnham’s sons Robert and James also took the opportunity to thank the surgeons, doctors and hospital workers looking after their father. “We are in awe of the incredible teams of health care professionals who have guided us through this very challenging time with such compassion,” they said.
“All of you undertook this big job today, and have given us a magnificent outcome.”
The Farnham family also thanked the singer’s fans, friends and family for the “incredible wave of support” in the wake of yesterday’s announcement. “This means so much to us as a family,” they said. “Thank you to everyone for this. John will be blown away.”
The Australian pop legend’s diagnosis was confirmed yesterday by his family, although no further details of his condition were disclosed at the time. “Cancer diagnosis is something that so many people face every single day, and countless others have walked this path before me,” Farnham – who is 73 years old and lives on a farm near the Victorian town in Bendigo – said in an accompanying statement.
He added: “The one thing I know for sure is that we have the best specialist healthcare professionals in Victoria, and we can all be grateful for that. I know I am.”
Farnham was born in England in 1949, moving to Melbourne with his family a decade later. He first emerged into the spotlight as a teen pop idol, however it was his 12th studio album, 1986’s ‘Whispering Jack’, that cemented his status within Australian music history. It remains the country’s highest-selling album by an Australian artist.
In 2020, Farnham spoke out against protesters who reappropriated his ‘Whispering Jack’ hit ‘You’re the Voice’ to protest COVID-19 lockdown conditions in Melbourne. His manager, Glenn Wheatley, said at the time: “It’s something that John and I do not condone, the use of that song, particularly in a time in Melbourne where we are in stage four lockdown.”
Wheatley added that the 1986 song had been sung at far-right protests in the past, which he and Farnham did not condone either. “It was not meant to be a protest song,” he said. “It was meant to be used as an inspirational song for nations and for people, not in a situation of what was an illegal protest.”
Farnham led tributes to longtime manager Wheatley – who was instrumental in relaunching the singer’s career, mortgaging his house to finance ‘Whispering Jack’ – following his death in February of this year.
Wheatley, who also played bass in the Masters Apprentices, worked with the Little River Band and helped kickstart Delta Goodrem‘s career, died of compilations related to COVID-19.