Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley is opening up about his struggle with alcoholism for the first time since landing in the hospital last year. Doctors admitted Whibley in May 2014, after he collapsed in his home. Further examination revealed that the 35-year-old was suffering severe liver and kidney damage. He was forced to spend a week in an intensive care unit medically sedated after his “liver and kidneys collapsed.” After being released from the ICU, Whibley says doctors told him he was “lucky to be alive and that there was still a chance I could die.” Now, he says the brush with death opened his eyes and he’s ready to focus on what’s truly important -- the music.
According to Us Weekly Whibley was a drinker from a young age. The musician founded Sum 41 in his teens, but it wasn’t until he was 21 that they really hit it big. The musician says drinking was his way of dealing with various things from the rise to fame to his struggle to appear energized at all times.
“I drank to wake me up and get that fake energy,” he said. “There were a lot of times I didn’t even want to drink, but I was so tired that shots of Jack were all I could do to get onstage.”
Now, however, he’s singing a very different tune. Whibley tells Vice magazine’s music channel Noisey that drinking is the last thing he’s thinking about. The musician says he’s “not missing anything” and assured readers he will be sober throughout the band’s future tours. He claims everything he’s doing now -- for himself and as a part of Sum 41 -- is to get back on stage. Performing again will be no easy task, as Whibley told Vice he spends nearly “80 percent” of every day in physical therapy.
“I’m glad it happened now and not when I’m like, 50, because my body wouldn’t have been able to handle it. ... However, now I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt,” he told Vice. “I’m healthier. I'm in the best shape of my life.”
As terrifying as his diagnosis sounds, Whibley assured readers it could have been much worse. The former pop-punk rocker says he was fortunate to walk away from the health scare with minimal lasting damage, saying his body “shut down before any more damage could happen.”
“To walk out of there alive, without cirrhosis or needing transplants, you know, it could have been worse,” he said.
The band is believed to be working on its sixth studio album, though it remains unclear when that will be released.