Wilko Johnson, a British musician and actor best known for helping found rock band Dr. Feelgood and appearing in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” has announced on his personal website that he has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Johnson has chosen not to seek chemotherapy.
"I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy,” his manager wrote on Johnson's personal website. “Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career.
“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."
Johnson, 65, first made a name for himself co-founding Dr. Feelgood, an English pub rock band known for his signature choppy guitar style. More than anything else, Dr. Feelgood made a name for themselves as a proto-punk band, establishing the hard-edged, energetic sounds that later English punk acts would build on.
"Feelgood are remembered in rock history, if at all, as John the Baptists to punk's messiahs,” wrote critic Nick Hasted for the Independent.
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Johnson left the band in 1977, and while Dr. Feelgood continues to perform today, there are no original members in their current lineup.
In 2011, Johnson began a second career in acting, making appearances in the hit HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones” as the mute executioner Ilyn Payne. So far, Johnson has appeared in four episodes of “Game of Thrones,” three in the first season and four in the second.
"'They said they wanted somebody really sinister who went around looking daggers at people before killing them. That made it easy. Looking daggers at people is what I do all the time, it's like second nature to me,” Johnson said of his “Game of Thrones” role.
While Johnson has just revealed his cancer, this isn’t the first recent health scare for the musician and actor. In November 2012, Johnson was forced to cancel a sold-out homecoming gig in Canvey, England, after being rushed to the hospital.
While Johnson has not made an official statement on this incident, it is likely that the canceled gig was related to his diagnosis.