Published Dec 13, 2010A frightful blow rocked heavy metal this weekend as one more genre luminary was reported to be in the throes of a medical emergency. In a tense posting on his official website, it was announced that Danish black metal forefather King Diamond (born Kim Bendix Petersen) recently underwent triple-bypass heart surgery earlier this month.
While his wife Livia Petersen (who relayed the information) reveals that his seven-hour operation was a success and that Diamond has no plans of quitting the music business, she does note that it will be a long time before he is well enough to return to the stage and/or recording studio.
"Let me catch you all up on the past couple of weeks' happenings because it affects many things," she noted in the detailed proclamation, as re-posted by The Gauntlet. "On Monday, November 29th, King had to be transported to the nearby hospital by ambulance. After several different tests were done and the EKG machine showing abnormalities, the doctors recommended that he get a cardiac catheterization."
If you're a bit squeamish, stop here at the point where you know he's going to be fine. If you want the gory details, continue with the rest Petersen's detailed account:
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure where the doctors lead a very thin tube up from the leg and into the heart, where it injects dye into the bloodstream. Then a camera at the end of the tube takes many pictures of the heart's arteries, looking for blockages. After this was done, they determined that King had several heart attacks, and three of his heart's arteries were the cause: one was completely blocked, the second was 90% blocked, and the third was 65% blocked. The only solution to this was an open heart triple bypass surgery.
If you are interested in the details of how this surgery is performed, please look it up online. I will only touch on the basics. The sternum (breastbone) is cut in half and pulled apart, to expose the heart. Veins are harvested from other places of the body, in King's case it was his left leg and chest wall. The person is then hooked up to a machine that practically does the job of the heart, circulating and oxygenating the blood.
The heart is then stopped, and the lungs collapse (the lungs stop working since the blood is being oxygenated by the machine). The surgeon then sews the harvested veins in place, bypassing the found blockages. Once the surgery is done, the surgeon moves the ribs and breastbone back into place and wires it together. The chest is closed as well. They use an electric pulse to start the heart and a breathing machine is lead into the lungs to restart breathing...
Everything went well, and King was taken to ICU for recovery. He was walking and eating solid food already two days after the operation, and he was the first one in the history of the hospital who walked on his own power from the ICU to normal care. 10 days after the ambulance took him to the emergency room, he is at home and is recovering well. It will be a few months before he feels completely normal and is without pain...
In light of this, he will be taking a break from music and the music business altogether until further notice. He very much wants to write new music, finish the DVDs, and go on tour, but for now, all those things are in the distant future and he's not thinking about them.
Please understand that the King Diamond band is not stopping, disbanding or anything of the sort. King's health is first priority, and when everything is going good with him, the music will resume.