LEGENDARY south Essex guitarist Wilko Johnson has vowed the show will go on after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Well-known Wilko, 65, a founding member of Canvey band Dr Feelgood, will play on and “party where he can” for the remaining months of his life.
Doctors have told the R&B man he has untreatable pancreatic cancer.
Yet he is determined to fulfil his commitments to a tour in Japan and then intends to complete a new CD, a short tour of France, and play a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.
And he even choose to fly out in style to Far East.
His manager, Robert Hoy, who broke the sad news to fans, said: “Wilko chose to fly first class to Japan because there was no point in hanging on to savings.
“He said he wants to make the very best of the time he has left, playing and partying when he can.
“He is currently in good spirits and is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity. “Also he has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy.”
The guitarist, who lives in Westcliff, who went on to carve out a successful career as a solo artist since leaving Dr Feelgood in 1977, was forced to cancel his sold-out show at the Oysterfleet Hotel, in Knightswick Road, Canvey in November after failling ill.
He was given the devastating news by medics in the new year.
Mr Hoy said the musician, a widower who has two sons, wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career.
Hew added: “From those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience”.
AS a founder member of Canvey-based band Dr Feelgood, guitarist Wilko Johnson drew attention for his wild-eyed, “violent” stage performance - and his unique guitar style.
Also a talented songwriter, he produced early Feelgood favourites like Back in the Night, Dr Dupree and Sneaking Suspicion.
The list of 1970s New Wave bands who acknowledge the influence of Wilko and the Feelgoods is extensive and includes The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Boomtown Rats, and across the Atlantic the Ramones and Blondie.
After his abrupt departure from Dr. Feelgood in 1977 Wilko formed his own band.
In 1980, while continuing to work with his own three-piece band, Wilko entered the ranks of Ian Dury's Blockheads, co-writing several songs with Ian and featuring on the Laughter album.
Then in 1985 the Blockhead's bassist Norman Watt-Roy joined Wilko and for the last 25 years they have thrilled audiences from Helsinki to Madrid, Aberdeen to Istanbul and Toulouse to Tokyo.
Wilko never forgets his local fans, regularly performing at the Oyster Fleet Hotel on Canvey and at the Railway pub in Southend.