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Keith Richards undergoes brain surgery

Media says operation was to relieve blood clot caused by fall
/ Source: Reuters

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards had surgery in New Zealand on Monday to relieve headaches after a fall while holidaying in Fiji, his London publicists said.

“The operation was a complete success and Keith is already up and talking with his family today,” the publicists said in a statement about the surgery at the Ascot Hospital in Auckland.

The publicists would not comment on a report in the New Zealand Herald that the surgery was to relieve a subdural haematoma or blood clot on the brain. The operation normally involves drilling a hole through the skull to drain the clot.

Subdural haematoma can be caused by mild knocks to the head.

“He will need a few weeks’ recuperation,” the statement added, forcing the cancellation of early concert dates on the European leg of the Rolling Stones’ “A Bigger Bang” tour.

The 62-year-old rocker had been under medical observation in Auckland following the fall in late April.

He had been feeling well after being examined by doctors last week, the statement added.

“However after complaining of headaches yesterday, doctors thought it prudent to move ahead with a small operation to remove the pressure,” the statement said.

Last week a spokeswoman for the band said Richards had only suffered mild concussion and would not require surgery.

The Ascot Hospital told Reuters on Monday that Richards had been discharged but would give no further details.

Richards was flown to Auckland after the accident while holidaying in Fiji following the end of the Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand leg of a world tour.

The European leg of the tour will go ahead but its start will be delayed to June, the publicists said. The band had been due to open the tour on May 27 in Barcelona and May 29 in Madrid.

Full details of the rescheduled dates will be announced shortly.

Along with lead singer Mick Jagger, Richards has been the backbone of the Rolling Stones since the 1960s.

His history of arrests and drug abuse in younger years has given him the reputation as rock ’n’ roll’s ultimate survivor. He pokes fun at his chequered past by greeting concert audiences with the catchphrase, “Good to be here, good to be anywhere.”

He has suffered his fair share of freak accidents.

In 1998, he broke three ribs and punctured a lung falling from a ladder while reaching for a book in his library. In 1990, one of his fingers got infected after he punctured it on a guitar string. In both cases, the Stones were forced to postpone concerts.