Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson Reveals His Singing 'Days Are Numbered'


Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has revealed he is living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anybody in public before,” Anderson said during an interview with Dan Rather. “Since it’s you, I will take this moment to say I am suffering from an incurable lung disease with which I was diagnosed a couple of years back.”

The 72-year-old musician said he knows the likely cause of his COPD.

“I’ve spent 50 years of my life onstage amongst those wretched things that I call smoke machines,” Anderson said. “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.”

Anderson said he struggles with the disease. “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,” he explained. “Fingers crossed, I’ve gone 18 months now without an exacerbation.”

The musician admitted that having COPD means his “days are numbered.”

In a statement on Thursday, Anderson clarified that he was referring to his days as a singer. “But I should be OK for a few more years if COVID doesn't get me first,” he wrote.

Anderson said his conversation with Rather was recorded last September and he has gone 14 months with no infections or bronchitis.

This article has been updated since it was published.

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