How Smoking A Cigarette Saved MOTORHEAD's Lemmy From Having His Foot Amputated, According To ANTHRAX's Scott Ian
Rock icon Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead died in late 2015 of what was described at the time as "an extremely aggressive form" of cancer. The tributes came pouring in from the metal community. Eventually, his official cause of death was revealed to be prostate cancer, cardiac arrhythmia and congestive heart failure.
In the weeks leading up to his passing, Lemmy did try to change up his lifestyle just a bit. Lemmy was battling diabetes, so he switched from Jack and Cokes to vodka, because of the lower sugar content. He also almost lost his toes.
In a new interview with Landry.Audio, Anthrax's Scott Ian elaborates how smoking a cigarette saved Lemmy from losing his toes before he died:
He had been diagnosed with diabetes at some point, if I remember correctly, so he was battling that. I remember at some point [hearing that] Lemmy switched to vodka. Like, that was news. In the rock world, that was major headline news. I remember hearing that, like, 'Lemmy's got diabetes, and no more Jack-and-Cokes, because of the sugar content. He switched to vodka.' I was, like, 'Wow! After 50 years, that's a big deal.'"
Ian continued: "Look, when a guy like that hits the wall, living the life that he has been living since he was a teenager… The guy had been hitting it hard for 50-odd years already by the time the early two-thousand-teens rolled in. So, eventually you're gonna hit the wall. I don't care who you are — everyone hits the wall. No matter how healthy you are and no matter how fucked up of a life you led and how hard you lived, and when you've lived as hard as Lemmy did, when you hit the wall, it's gonna be worse than the average human."
The guitarist added: "I did spend a lot of time with him over the years; lucky enough for me, it was a privilege to have spent 30-odd years or something knowing him and being friendly with him. And I asked him one time about smoking: 'Do you think you'll ever quit?' or this or that. These are questions he just… there wasn't even an answer to. He wasn't gonna quit smoking; he wasn't gonna quit drinking."
"He literally almost lost a couple of toes because when he was in the throes of figuring out the diabetes and all that, a couple of his toes went black from bad circulation and all this," the guitarist said. "And he saw some doctor in L.A., and they were, like, 'Oh, [you must go under the knife] immediately. You're gonna lose the toes,' and this and that. And he was, like, 'I need a second opinion.' And he flew back to London and saw a doctor there. And it was the same kind of thing: 'We need to get these off. It's an emergency.' And it comes to… He goes to have the surgery done and he's sitting in this office and he's smoking a cigarette. And someone tells him, 'You're not allowed to smoke in here. What are you — crazy? You can't smoke in this office.' And he said, 'Well, if I'm gonna fucking lose a toe, I'm gonna have a fucking cigarette.' And long story short, they said, 'You can't smoke in here.' And he said, 'Well, then I won't be in here.' And he left. And he ended up seeing another doctor, and they literally told him, 'You just need to change this or this in your diet, and your feet are gonna be fine.' And he changed his diet, and he didn't have to have his toes cut off. So a cigarette literally saved him from having a part of his body amputated."
Scott added: "That's when he started using Diet Coke instead of regular Coke in his Jack-and-Cokes, I believe. The doctor literally told him: 'Switch to Diet Coke, and you don't have to lose your toes.' [Laughs]"
An amazing Lemmy story!