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Richards thanks ‘beautiful ladies’ and doctors

Rolling Stones guitarist has been released from Auckland hospital
/ Source: Reuters

Evidently on the road to recovery, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards says he hopes he wasn’t “too much of a pain in the arse” to the staff at the New Zealand hospital who treated his head injury.

The 62-year-old rocker was released from the Ascot Hospital in Auckland Wednesday, after being treated there for about two weeks, but will remain under medical care for an unspecified period.

“Personally I would like to thank everyone at Ascot Hospital for the truly wonderful care I received,” Richards said in a message forwarded by his publicist in New York.

“From the doctors to the beautiful ladies who make painful nights less painful and shorter. I’m pretty much at a loss for words to express my deep gratitude. I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain in the arse -- after all it was my head they fixed. Many thanks Kiwis.”

Richards underwent an operation Monday after complaining of headaches, and the procedure was “100 percent successful,” his publicist said at the time. The Stones organization has not said what the operation was for, but news reports have speculated it was to drain blood from his skull.

The band’s publicist Tuesday denied reports that Richards had actually undergone two surgeries and risked brain damage.

Richards’ ailment has forced the band to postpone the start of the European leg of the band’s “A Bigger Bang” world tour, which had been scheduled to kick off May 27 in Barcelona, Spain. It is now expected to start in June, though no new dates have been announced yet.

Richards’ wife, Patti Hansen, and his four children have been at his bedside, and guitars have reportedly been brought in for him to play.

The Stones’ publicists have given few details of Richards’ mishap, which occurred while Richards and his wife were in Fiji following the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific leg of the band’s tour. Newspaper accounts have variously reported that he fell from a tree or from a watercraft.