Rock guitarist Rick Parfitt has revealed how he narrowly survived a massive heart attack, but it may cost him his career.
He has been forced to quit playing with Status Quo until next year at the earliest, and fears a return to the stage could kill him.
Parfitt hasn’t played guitar for three months and has told Sky News the full story about his collapse, shortly after a concert in Turkey in June.
He said: “I did actually die. I died for about three-and-a-half minutes apparently and they had to resuscitate me, pump me for half an hour or so.
“And when I did eventually did come round, my body was literally black and blue.”
He admits he felt unwell before the concert, but continued to play despite recognising the danger signs.
Parfitt had survived two previous heart attacks and has had quadruple heart bypass surgery.
A personal assistant found him unconscious on the floor of his hotel room, and he was saved thanks to prompt treatment from a medical team who were already at the hotel.
Parfitt spent several days in a coma and his family were warned to expect the worst. But he regained consciousness and was airlifted to London for further specialist treatment.
The near-death experience has affected his memory and his stamina, and doctors have ordered him to rest.
It means he will miss Status Quo’s final rock tour starting next month.
After 50 years together, he and his partner Francis Rossi had announced Quo would only play less demanding acoustic sets in the future. But Parfitt’s future with the band is now in jeopardy.
He told Sky News: “I’m just aware of the nervousness I get before I go on stage. It does pump your heart slightly when you start to pace up and down the room, and you’re about to go in front of thousands of people. Obviously it’s going to have some effect on you.
“I do not want to tax myself in any way. I’ve been told medically not to. So whether it’s a full gig or a cameo I’d still get fairly nervous and I do not want to get out on stage and drop dead in front of the fans. I do not want to do that.”
Parfitt watched at home as Status Quo played a festival in Hyde Park last Sunday, and other guitarists will continue to deputise in his absence.
He added: “I do miss the lads. I miss the laughs we have on the road. I do miss being with Quo of course I do, especially seeing them at Hyde Park the other day, walking on without me, it was a bit surreal.
“And I’ve got to apologise to the fans really because it’s my fault. You live the rock and roll lifestyle and at some stage you’ve got to pay for it. And I’m now paying for it. So it’s my fault that I’m not with the band now.”
He’s quit drinking and smoking, and says the heart attack has been a “reality check”.
Parfitt plans to explore a less demanding solo career if he’s unable to cope with the rigours of touring with Status Quo.