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Marianne Faithfull has breast cancer

Singer-actress, 59, says doctors expect her to make full recovery
/ Source: Reuters

British singer and actress Marianne Faithfull has been diagnosed with breast cancer but expects to make a full recovery, her publicist said on Thursday.

Doctors in France who diagnosed the disease said the cancer was in its earliest stages.

The 59-year-old Faithfull, a former girlfriend of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger, has postponed a world tour she was due to start next month.

The singer with the distinctive gravelly voice said in a statement: "I have absolute faith and confidence in my fantastic medical team and of course I will be well again, if not better than ever.

"Next year's tour, I want to assure fans, will be one big celebration," she added.

Her spokesman Rob Partridge said: "The disease has been quickly discovered by doctors in France — where Marianne stays when not at home in Ireland — and the prognosis for a return to full health is excellent.

"Indeed, Marianne Faithfull is looking forward to playing the re-scheduled tour in 2007."

Faithfull, the daughter of an Austro-Hungarian baroness, began her music career in 1964 after being discovered at a Rolling Stones launch party when just 17 years old.

Jagger and fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards penned her first hit — "As Tears Go By".

She married artist John Dunbar in 1965 and had a son, but the marriage was short-lived and she began an affair with Jagger that was one of the most notorious and heavily publicized in Swinging ’60s Britain.

Her drug addiction, frankly chronicled later in her autobiography, brought her career grinding to a halt for several years and she ended up living on the streets of London.

Her reputation was firmly re-established in 1979 with the release of the critically acclaimed album "Broken English".

After another bout of addiction, she recovered and re-invented herself in the ’80s as a jazz and blues singer.

Her career was given a further fillip in the ’90s when she performed the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

She also carved out an acting career in both films and on stage — from Ophelia in Hamlet to a leather-clad motorcyclist alongside Alain Delon in the French film "Girl On A Motorcycle".