Jerry Garcia’s Illness Forces Grateful Dead To Cancel East Coast Tour
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The Grateful Dead canceled more concerts Friday because guitarist Jerry Garcia is sick. The only good news for loyal ″Deadheads″ is that the 50- year-old rocker will quit smoking.
The leader of the band founded in the psychedelic ’60s that still draws overflow crowds can blame his condition partly on years of hard living, but drug abuse was not considered a factor.
Exhaustion, poor diet and cigarettes likely caused the physical breakdown, his doctor said.
″He has some lung disease related to years of smoking and this has put some stress on his heart, which has become slightly enlarged,″ Dr. Randy Baker said in a statement.
Garcia had agreed to stop smoking, exercise and lose weight - the latter of which should resolve his borderline diabetes, Baker said, denying published reports the musician suffered from kidney failure and fluid in the lungs.
The band canceled an 18-date swing through New York City, Boston Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., scheduled to begin Sept. 9. Shows in Oregon and California were canceled earlier, band spokesman Dennis McNally said.
Garcia was not hospitalized. He is recovering at home.
The Grateful Dead earned $30 million in concert ticket sales last year. Loyal fans by the thousands, known as ″Deadheads,″ flock to their shows. Some even travel from show to show during extended tours.
McNally said the band hoped to resume concerts by the end of the year.
The overweight guitarist has a history of health problems. In 1986, he entered the hospital in a diabetic coma. He also has admitted past drug use.
″His body has melted down and it’s primarily a consequence of cigarettes, no exercise and a diet which tends toward junk,″ McNally said. ″This is not a drug story. This is a health problem, plain and simple.″