Phil Collins discusses hit song ‘In The Air Tonight’ in 2016
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Aged 70, Phil Collins has sustained an injured vertebrae in his upper neck, crippling nerve damage, acute pancreatitis, falls, and “foot drop”. Which experience led him to be “close to dying”? Following the collapse of his marriage to his third wife, Orianne Cevey, 47, Phil turned to drink. “Within months you’re drinking vodka from the fridge in the morning and falling over in front of the kids, you know,” he said in a 2016 press conference.
“But it was something I lived through, and I was lucky to live through it and get through it. I was very close to dying.”
The year was 2012 when the musician was rushed off to a Swiss hospital with acute pancreatitis.
The NHS explained this is a condition whereby the pancreas becomes inflamed and swollen over a short period of time.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:
- Sudden, severe pain in the centre of the stomach
- Feeling or being sick
- A fever
- Swollen stomach
- Fast heartbeat
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“Eating or drinking may make you feel worse very quickly, especially if you eat fatty foods,” said the NHS.
“Leaning forward or curling into a ball may help to relieve the pain, but lying flat on your back often makes it worse.”
This condition is often linked to “drinking too much alcohol”, or gallstones.
If caused by excessive alcohol consumption, the pain usually develops between six to 12 hours after drinking.
Current scientific research isn’t sure how drinking alcohol causes the pancreas to become inflamed.
“Whatever the cause, there is a clear link between alcohol use and acute pancreatitis,” the NHS stated.
However, there can be other causes of acute pancreatitis, such as:
- Medication side effect
- Viruses like mumps or measles
- The immune system attacking the pancreas
- Accidental damage or injury to the pancreas
Treatment for acute pancreatitis occurs in a hospital setting where medical staff can keep a close eye on you.
People with severe acute pancreatitis can develop complications that have a risk of being fatal.
“My organs were kind of f****d,” Phil recalled. “It was spirits, corrosive stuff.”
A few years beforehand, Phil had dislocated his vertebrae in his upper neck while performing to a live audience.
Surgery to correct the damage then affected his hands that made it “impossible” for him to play drums or piano.
In addition, the surgery had caused nerve damage to his foot, meaning he had to walk with a cane.
“I have eight screws in my back but it left my foot numb,” he told The Mirror.
Then the superstar would fall over more easily, with a Facebook statement from his page saying that he suffers from “foot drop” – i.e. muscular weakness that causes the person to drag their foot on the ground when they walk.
Phil Collins at the BBC will air on BBC Two, Saturday June 12 at 9pm.
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