CHRISTY: I’M NOT READY TO DIE YET

Crazy World singer re­veals his des­per­ate can­cer bat­tle

Irish Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY SYLVIA POW­NALL

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.

HOR­RI­BLE

“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.

MOURN

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

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