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30th December 2015


Details have emerged of Lemmy's final days and his cancer diagnosis.

Motörhead manager Todd Singerman told Rolling Stone that Lemmy had cut down from his more than two packs of cigarettes a day to one pack a week and after at least four decades of a half-gallon of Jack Daniels every day he switched to vodka and orange juice and just four or five drinks a day. He still enjoyed his daily speed but in recent weeks had began to slow down.

"He did no more soundchecks. He wouldn't do interviews. He couldn't do anything," said Todd, who managed the band for 24 years. But Lemmy performed as scheduled. "To really think of what energy and the balls that took to still play shows for the fans, to do the last fucking show two weeks ago, and then drop. That's like a Rocky story to me. This is courage at his best. He was dying. He didn't know it, but his body must have felt it. He had nothing left."

Two weekends ago Lemmy's early 70th birthday party was held at the Whisky-a-Go-Go in LA and two days later he complained of chest pains and went to the emergency room but was released the next day. Doctors found no heart trouble. Todd and others decided he needed a brain scan "because his speech was getting bad," he said. There were concerns that he'd had a stroke.

"Why is he not talking much? He was slurring really bad," says Todd. "We took him for the X-rays and they said, 'Oh, my God, there's stuff all over his brain and his neck.' On Saturday, two days ago, the doctor came by the house, brought the results and told us all that he has two to six months to live."

It was cancer, and Lemmy reacted calmly. "He took it better than all of us. His only comment was, 'Oh, only two months, huh?' The doctor goes, 'Yeah, Lem, I don't want to bullshit you. It's bad, and there's nothing anyone can do. I would be lying to you if I told you there was a chance.'"

Todd was inclined to keep the diagnosis private and announce only that Lemmy was gravely ill and needed to be left alone. "He was like, 'No, no. You go ahead and put out a press release. I want people to know it was cancer. It's a bad thing and they should know it.' That's how he felt."

The plan was to put out a press release after informing close friends and family. Nurses were hired to be at his condo in shifts. A morphine kit arrived in preparation of coming pain. A favourite video-game console at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Strip that Lemmy loved to play at the corner of the bar was brought over.

Todd and others began calling friends and family. Lemmy told his partners in Motörhead on Sunday night and travel plans were being made for them to visit immediately.

"Here's the shocker for me and everyone else: He's been to a thousand doctors and hospitals throughout the world, but nobody caught this," says Todd. "To be told you have terminal cancer with all the blood tests he's taken in his life and everything else? It's very hard to grasp that. It's not like he had a fucking chance here. This was outright: 'You got no more than six months.'"

A doctor visited early on Monday, Ozzy Osbourne would be coming by that day or the next. Lemmy spent hours on the video-game console, as Rainbow owner Mikael Maglieri paid a visit. Then Lemmy nodded off and never woke up again.

"Mikael called to say, 'My God, he just died right in front of me,'" Todd said.

Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee told Swedish newspaper Expressen that Todd phoned on 27th December to tell him of Lemmy's diagnosis.

"When he went home he said, 'I've had a good run, fuck it', and then more or less laid down and died," Mikkey said.

Mikkey confirmed earlier that the band is defiitely over.

And here's Lemmy's last ever interview, recorded in France last month just after the Bataclan terror attacks.


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