English artist Wilko Johnson, who recently appeared on "Game of Thrones" as executioner Ilyn Payne. spent a long time living the frenetic rock and roll lifestyle as a member of Dr. Feelgood. Now Reuters via Yahoo! on Feb. 4 says he is done with because Wilko is dying due to a terminal illness.
Nevertheless, according to The Associated Press via MSN on Feb. 4, the diagnosis of the deadly disease ironically made this multi-faceted talent feel happy.
In fact, soon after he heard from the doctors that the pancreatic cancer he is suffering is terminal, Johnson turned surprisingly jubilant. He said, "In fact, [the diagnosis] amounted, at times, to euphoria."
Talk about a surprising high. The 65-year-old performer, who took rock to a punk level in the 1970s with his band, Dr. Feelgood, found that learning his life was not going to go on much longer meant he didn't need to worry anymore.
Wilko, who lives in a seaside hamlet about 40 miles from London, says he was typically "a miserable so-and-so.." who would worry about all sorts of small stuff prior to being told about the cancer that would kill him.
However, he quickly dropped that act after learning about what life had just handed him. Indeed, this former pessimist said that everything he once used to fret about "got in the way of real things." He added that, all of a sudden, those proverbial pains in his neck no longer mattered.
What does matter these days to the English musician turned actor are the little things in this brave man's current existence. Even a leaf spotted during a lazy stroll perks up this born-again optimist who claims, "You're looking around and you think, 'I'm alive. Ain't it amazing?"
Even though Wilko Johnson has found the joy in living life, he has reportedly nixed chemotherapy, a treatment that would possibly keep him alive longer than without this sort of medical intervention many consider radical.
However, a radical move this talent is making given his health issues is to go on tour. He's planning to play farewell concerts in the United Kingdom and elsewhere (he played Paris last month) and he's also headed back to the studio to record.
So, with that said, Wilko Johnson (born John Wilkinson) is making the most of what most would consider a terrible situation by taking his former cult hero status to new heights in a much more low-key way than he did during his rocker heyday.
And so, as this brave and formerly cantankerous soul struggles with a terminal disease, the Dr. Feelgood musician who Brits dub "a national treasure" makes each and every day count in a way that ironically makes him feel more alive than ever before.