CHRISTY: I’M NOT READY TO DIE YET
Crazy World singer reveals his desperate cancer battle
ASLAN frontman Christy Dignam has opened his heart about his cancer fight and said: “I don’t want to die.”
The singer, 57, also told how he is receiving chemotherapy again to treat an aggressive form of the disease. In a TV interview Christy admitted he once thought about taking his own life while battling heroin. But the star – clean for more than a decade – added: “There’s lots I still want to do.”
SINGER Christy Dignam has revealed he’s back on chemo in the latest round of his cancer battle and admitted: “I don’t want to die.”
The Aslan frontman, 57, told how his heroin addiction and five years of treatment for aggressive blood tumours have taken their toll.
In a TV interview the Dubliner bears his soul and tells how he:
■ Hasn’t slept for more than an hour at a time since his 2013 diagnosis
■ Had a defibrillator fitted in his chest because his heart stopped
■ Almost died after catching a cold that shut down his immune system, and
■ Contemplated suicide when his drug habit took him to rock bottom.
With heartbreaking candour the dad of one, who has been married to wife Kathryn for 33 years, admitted his priorities have changed since he learned he was dying of cancer.
Christy says: “I don’t sleep. Since I got the diagnosis five years ago I haven’t slept two hours consecutively.
“I’ll sleep an hour then wake up for an hour, then sleep half an hour, that sort of thing. But I haven’t slept for two solid hours, it’s horrible.
“There’s not as much of me as there used to be. You can feel it, I can’t walk far, my breathing is a bit dodgy.
“I flatlined in hospital so they had to put this yoke [defibrillator] in and if my heart goes below certain beats per minute this yoke kicks in.
“I was in hospital, I was on a monitor. I just flatlined you know, I seen the bleedin’ tunnel and all, I swear.
“It’s not necessarily the cancer that will kill you, it could be a cold. I nearly died because I caught a cold, my kidneys were failing, my heart was 240 beats a minute.”
Viewers will see a frail-looking Christy on tomorrow’s episode of Living With Lucy.
The Crazy World singer revealed he’s now pals again with U2’s Bono after the pair fell out over an interview in which he seemed to criticise the band.
Christy says: “We had a row years ago when we got signed. Any interview we’d do was always, ‘Do you live near U2? Youse are
I just flatlined & saw the bleedin’ tunnel, I swear CHRISTY DIGNAM ON HEALTH SCARE
from Finglas, U2 are from Finglas’. I went into a little tirade. I said, ‘Hold on he wasn’t born where I was born, he wasn’t reared where I was reared, they sing about Ballymun but we’re living it’. “They printed the rant and didn’t write anything about Aslan. U2
were in the States and sent a telegram asking us, ‘Why the f**k are you badmouthing us in the press?’
“I tried to explain... but there was a bit of a vibe for years. But when I was sick, Bono came up to the house. Ali sent us stuff.
“He came up and we were talking, next thing he came running in with his ipad and started playing songs off the new album and asking me what I thought of them. I thought it was lovely.”
Cameras follow Christy as he travels to Limerick for a gig and demonstrates the Tai Chi routine he first learned at a Buddhist retreat when he was detoxing from drugs. He admits: “I nearly pissed it all away at one stage. I had to come home one day and say, ‘Kathryn, I’m after getting sacked and I’m a heroin addict’.
“Because of my drug use there were times when I wasn’t the father I should have been but I try to make up for it now with the grandkids.
“When you’re using it’s like a schizophrenia, it’s like a different person and you don’t notice it. I used to be thinking nobody has a f ***** g clue, I have them all fooled.
“The first few times I took heroin I didn’t even know I was taking heroin. They were calling it skag and I was taking it but I didn’t know what it was.”
Christy also admits that at his lowest ebb he contemplated suicide.
He reveals: “I remember being on Ballymun towers, Kathryn had thrown me out and I was on the sixth floor and I got the telly and I threw it over.
“It took a second and a half to hit the ground and I thought, ‘If I jump off this in a second and a half all this will be over’.
“‘Kathryn will mourn me for a month and then she’ll get the husband that she deserves. I won’t be causing Kiera [his daughter] any more pain’.
“It was like I was killing them by the death of a thousand cuts and I thought I’d be out of their hair. I just hadn’t got the bottle... the balls to do it.”
Christy has been off drugs for more than 10 years and despite his battles he has not lost his sense of humour.
Recounting his courting days with childhood sweetheart Kathryn, he jokes: “She was about 14 when we started going out.
“When I was 15, I said, ‘I think I love you, come on we’ll get something in the chipper’. She was all over me like a rash.” But underneath the banter he admits he’s scared of dying.
He says: “When that happens you prioritise things and nothing matters except family. It’s a great way of focusing your life.
“Everything I do I think this could be the last time I do this. When you’re lying in bed it’s terrifying because nobody wants to die, do they?
“Really I don’t want to die, there’s lots I still want to do.”
■ Living With Lucy is on Virgin Media One tomorrow at 9pm.
CHEMO ORDEAL Aslan singer Christy Dignam and, below, back in 1997
WHEEL DEAL On Living With LucyDOUBLEACT With Aslan’s Billy Mcguinness COUPLE With his wife of 33 years Kathryn
ROCK STARIn his heyday
BARES SOULChristy Dignam & Lucy Kennedy