Brian May says he was ‘very near death’ after suffering heart attack

Brian May of Queen performs at ANZ Stadium on Feb. 15, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Don Arnold/WireImage

Brian May, the longtime guitarist and co-founder of Queen, has revealed that he was “very near death” after suffering a “small heart attack” earlier this month.

In a seven-minute, 30-second IGTV video posted on Sunday evening, the 72-year-old detailed the near-death experience, sharing that his “wonderful doctor” rushed him to a local hospital after he started feeling the symptoms of a heart attack.

“It’s not something that did me any harm,” said May. “It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness, and that feeling in the arms … and sweating.”

“I thought I was a very healthy guy. But I turned out to have three arteries that were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood to my heart,” he added, revealing the results of an angiogram.

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Despite feeling a “lot of pressure” to have open-heart surgery, or a “triple bypass” later that day, May said that “after a lot of thorough and deliberation” he opted to have stents implanted in the blocked arteries instead.

The Hammer to Fall rocker added that if it were not for those implants that he “could have died.”

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“Sheer Heart Attack, eh?” May joked in the video’s caption, referring to Queen’s critically acclaimed 1974 album.

He wrote: “I think I always worried a little bit about that album title. I wondered if it might upset some people who had actually had heart attacks.

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“I’m actually quite relieved now that I’m in that club. I don’t find it upsetting at all,” he added.

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Miss you all … Bri

A post shared by Brian Harold May (@brianmayforreal) on

“I walked out with a heart that’s very strong now,” said May in the lengthy video message, before expressing gratitude to his doctors.

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Additionally, May detailed another story from his medical “saga.” This one, however, resulted in a “rip” in his “bum” and multiple visits to the hospital before his recent flirtation with death.

Though he initially thought nerve pain he was experiencing in his buttocks was the result of a “bizarre gardening accident,” May revealed even after his treatment ⁠— which included an ice pack on his “gluteus maximus” ⁠— that he was still in “agony.”

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The veteran musician returned to the hospital 10 days later for a second MRI, where the medical staff checked his lower spine instead.

May then revealed that he had a “severely compressed sciatic nerve.”

“That’s why I had the feeling that someone was putting a screwdriver in my back the whole time,” he said. “It was excruciating.”

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“So finally, we started treating the thing for what it was. I’d been putting the ice packs in the wrong place for about 10 days,” he joked.

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In the video’s caption, May expressed his belief that playing his guitar strap may have been the cause for his “squished spine” and subsequent nerve damage.

“Why did those discs in my spine get so squished?” he pondered. “Well, I think 50 years of running around with a guitar strap over my left shoulder holding a heavy guitar might have something to do with it! But it probably was all worth it,” he added.

Brian May of Queen + Adam Lambert performing live Mediolanum Forum in Assago Milan, Italy, on June 25, 2018. Roberto Finizio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As opposed to messages of sympathy and well wishes, May said he’d prefer it if fans and followers sent him messages of “congratulations.”

“I’m incredibly grateful that I now have a life to lead again,” he said with a smile.

— With files from the Associated Press

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