Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has revealed that he is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Speaking to Dan Rather on his show The Big Interview, due to air this evening (May 13) on US TV channel AXS, the legendary singer and flautist stated that his “days are numbered”.
During the interview, Anderson responded to a question about the physical exertion of performing live: “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.”
The frontman later confirmed that this was COPD, and that he is on medication for the condition.
“I do struggle,” he continued. “I have what are known as exacerbations: Periods when I get an infection, it turns into severe bronchitis and I have maybe two or three weeks of really a tough job to go out there onstage and play. Fingers crossed, I’ve gone 18 months now without an exacerbation.”
Anderson believes one of the main factors in contracting the disease was his exposure to smoke machines during live performances with Jethro Tull.
“I’ve spent 50 years of my life onstage amongst those wretched things that I call smoke machines,” he told Rather. “Today [they] are lightly referred to as ‘hazers’ as if they’re somehow innocent and not damaging to your lungs. I really do believe that’s a very significant part of the problem that I have.”