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Bob Dylan hospitalized with chest pains, infection

May 29, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bob Dylan was hospitalized with a potentially fatal lung infection that forced him to cancel a European tour, his record label said Wednesday.

Dylan, who turned 56 on Saturday, was admitted to a hospital over the weekend with severe chest pains, Columbia Records said in a statement.

The statement indicated the ailment was histoplasmosis, a fungal infection of the lung that causes swelling of the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, head of the cardiothoracic surgery department at Montefiore-Einstein Medical Center in the Bronx, said histoplasmosis carries ``pneumonia-like symptoms″ and people can be infected for ``20 or 30 years before it causes trouble.″

``Sometimes it just heals itself,″ other times antibiotics are required, and in advanced stages, draining the pericardium or surgery is necessary, Gold said.

The statement from Colombia did not say where Dylan was hospitalized or disclose his condition, and spokesmen for Dylan and the record label would not elaborate.

Dylan was ``undergoing treatment and will remain hospitalized in the care of his physicians until such time as they feel confident that his condition has improved,″ Columbia Records said.

The singer-songwriter, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose songs include ``Blowin’ in the Wind″ and ``Like a Rolling Stone,″ was forced to cancel a tour of the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Although widely viewed as reclusive, Dylan has toured relentlessly in recent years, performing concerts all over the world.

He has also continued to record, but recent albums, including collections of traditional folk songs and an ``MTV Unplugged″ recording of his own work, have met with less success than his earlier albums.

Widely regarded as the best songwriter of his generation, his work has been performed by, and cited as an influence, on scores of others.

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