Legendary Free and Bad Company star Paul Rodgers reveals he was left unable to speak after suffering 13 STROKES - including two 'major' ones within three years
- In a sit-down with CBS Mornings Wednesday, the 73-year-old singer discussed the slew of medical issues, which he said robbed him of his voice for many years
- The first, in 2016, left him unable to talk, he said - while the second, in 2019, spurred him to undergo endarterectomy to remove blockages from his brain
- The operation, he said, was dangerous - with doctors warning him the incision near his vocal cords could kill him, but was likely the only way to sing again
Legendary Bad Company front man Paul Rodgers has opened up about a series of strokes he suffered that stole his ability to sing.
In a sit-down alongside his wife, the 73-year-old singer - famed for hits like Feel Like Making Love and a stint singing lead for first band Free - discussed the slew of medical issues, which he said consisted of 13 strokes, two of them major.
The first, in 2016, left him unable to talk, he said - while the second, in 2019, spurred him to undergo endarterectomy, 'a procedure to remove plaque buildup from narrowed or blocked arteries,' according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The operation, he recalled, was dangerous - with doctors at the time warning the incision near his vocal cords could kill him, but was likely the only way he could ever sing again.
Set on restoring the voice that made him famous, he obliged - and has since regained the use of his pipes. Showing off his restored ability to CBS, he recalled how the series of afflictions left him at a loss for several years.
Scroll down for video:
'I couldn't do anything, to be honest,' Rodgers said Wednesday, seated alongside his 61-year-old wife of 16-years, Cynthia Kereluk Rodgers.
'I couldn't speak,' he said, 'That was the very strange thing. I'd prepare something in my mind and I'd say it, but that isn't what came out.'
'I'd go, "What the heck did I just say?"' he recalled - as his former beauty queen wife remembered the ordeal as 'terrifying.'
'I was just praying,' she told the station, in an upbeat interview where her husband whipped out an acoustic guitar and sang to show how he was healthy again.
'All I wanted to be able to do was walk and talk with him again,' the 1984 Miss Canada title holder told the interviewer.
'That's all I asked for.'
Aside from the two major strokes, Rodgers revealed how he also suffered 11 'mini strokes' over an unspecified amount of years - though did not go into too much detail about those afflictions.
He did, however, hone in on the two incidents where the loss of blood to his brain was much more severe - leaving him almost permanently speech impaired.
Left without his voice for at least three years, he said it was the second - sustained in October 2019 - that almost killed him.
'They told me, they're very clear, you may not come out of this alive,' he recalled, laughing off the serious recollection with a characteristic quip.
'And I said, "Oh, well, that's a plus, isn't it?"
His wife added how at the time, all she wanted was 'to be able to do was walk and talk with him again' - a desire that Rodgers shared, leading him to go through with the surgery.
He recalled: 'They cut the neck, and [the doctor] said that he was very careful because he knew I was a singer and that when you cut the neck, it's very close to the vocal cords.
'They told me, they were very clear, "You may not come out of this alive."'
Still, the couple remained hopeful that he would one day again sing - six months after the surgery, he was able to return to playing the guitar and singing.
Now back in form, he recently finished a new album titled Midnight Rose that came out this week - marking his first solo LP in more than 20 years.
'Each thing was a step forward,' he said of his unlikely return to music. 'Each thing that I did was an achievement … "Oh, I can do this. I can sing."'
In addition to his success with Bad Company and Free in the 70s, Rodgers also gained notoriety playing with Queen in the 2000s, replacing the equally iconic Freddie Mercury as the band's singer.
Recently, he ranked No. 55 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and today, he has more than 90 million sold records to his name.
Speaking to CBS, he said he hopes to add to that in the years to come.
He called his recovery 'a miracle', and plans to continue singing.