Stratovarius Drummer Jörg Michael Diagnosed with Cancer

Stratovarius Drummer Jörg Michael Diagnosed with Cancer

Some unfortunate news from the camp of Finnish power metallers Stratovarius: drummer Jörg Michael has cancer.

In a press release, keyboardist Jens Johansson wrote that Michael (far left in the photo above) "recently discovered a lump on his neck, went to the doctor, they decided to operate and found what they call 'a malignant thyroid neoplasm.' They took out his whole thyroid just to have the best chance to get everything out. He will also have to undergo a regimen of radiotherapy."

Johansson says that Michael is a "fighter" and "is not down for the count," adding, with a bit of metal humour, that Michael and "his team of German doctors are pissed off and ready to kick ass, and I would not want to be a little cancer cell on these guys' shit list. Believe me."

Johansson ends his statement on a similarly positive note, saying that once the doctors get the "bad stuff out" the band will, quite simply, be able to say "Jörg had cancer. But he beat it."

Stratovarius, whose most recent album was 2009's Polaris and whose next album Elysium is slated for a January 14 release, have a European/Japanese tour coming up with German power metal lifers Helloween, and on Michael's request, the band will not be cancelling any shows. Alex Landenburg will be filling in on drums; Landenburg plays with prog metal old dogs Mekong Delta and also did time with Canadian thrashers Annihilator in 2007.

Michael has played with a virtual who's-who of Euro metal bands over the years, including stints with Rage, Grave Digger, Helloween, Mekong Delta, Tom Angelripper, Axel Rudi Pell, Running Wild, Saxon, and others. We wish Michael a successful and speedy recovery.