New Zealand markets open in 8 hours 26 minutes
  • NZX 50

    +107.54 (+0.88%)

    +0.0032 (+0.54%)

    +60.20 (+0.73%)
  • OIL

    +1.20 (+1.49%)
  • GOLD

    +12.60 (+0.51%)

Bad Company's Paul Rodgers Reveals He Suffered 2 Major, 11 Minor Strokes Since 2016: 'I Couldn't Do Anything'

"They told me, they're very clear, 'You may not come out of this alive,'" the rocker, 73, said

Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers is opening up about a major health crisis that left him without the ability to speak.

The legendary rocker, 73, appeared on CBS Mornings and revealed for the first time that years ago, he suffered 11 minor strokes and two major strokes, which nearly ended his career.

"I couldn't do anything to be honest," he told co-anchor Anthony Mason of the health scare. "I couldn't speak. That was the very strange thing. You know, I'd prepare something in my mind and I'd say it, but that isn't what came out and I'd go, 'What the heck did I just say?'"

<p>Rick Diamond/Getty</p> Paul Rodgers performs in Florida in May 2016

Rick Diamond/Getty

Paul Rodgers performs in Florida in May 2016

Rodgers, whose distinctive vocals are heard on Bad Company hit songs like "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" and "Feel Like Making Love," suffered his first major stroke in 2016 and a second in October 2019, which required him to undergo a major surgery to recover from.


At the time, the singer-songwriter underwent a carotid endarterectomy, a procedure to remove plaque from the arteries running through your neck to your brain, according to the Cleveland Clinic. He recalled doctors telling him about the severe risks because an incision would be made in his neck, extremely close to his vocal cords.

"They told me, they're very clear, 'You may not come out of this alive.' And I said, 'Oh, well, that's a plus, isn't it?'" Rodgers quipped. “Fingers crossed, you know? And when I woke up, I opened my eyes, I thought, 'Oh, I'm still here.'”

Related: Rosie O’Donnell Says She’s ‘Really Lucky’ She Survived 'Massive' Heart Attack at Age 50: 'I Should’ve Died'

<p>Scott Dudelson/WireImage</p> Paul Rodgers performs in California in July 2018

Scott Dudelson/WireImage

Paul Rodgers performs in California in July 2018

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

“It was terrifying but I couldn’t be terrified, that’s just taking time away from his healing process,” his wife, Cynthia Rodgers, added. "I was just praying. All I wanted to be able to do was walk and talk with him again. That's all I asked for.”

Following the procedure, the rocker said his recovery was slow but six months later he was back playing the guitar and singing again.

"Each thing was a step forward. Each thing that I did was an achievement. 'Oh, I can do this. I can sing,'" he said.

“I thought music would be his way back,” his wife said of his recovery before Rodgers added, “And it was, actually. It definitely was.”

A year and a half ago, the musician told the outlet that he returned to the studio with the support of his family. Rodgers recorded his new album, Midnight Rose, his first solo album in nearly 25 years, which was released last week.

"I didn't think that would ever happen," Cynthia said in tears, calling it “amazing” to hear her husband sing again and see him bounce back.

Rodgers said it's "kind of a miracle" that he was able to complete the album.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.