In a new interview, former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno reveals how close he came to dying back in 2016. The musician came down with sepsis while performing in Argentina, and after flying back home to England for treatment, was told he had 45 minutes to receive antibiotics or he was a goner.

“I've been in and out of the hospital for four years now,” Di’Anno tells Mariskal Rock. “It's been very, very tough for me at the moment. Because of the sepsis, I keep getting infections, so they can't do the operations on my leg.”

Di’Anno, who sang on Iron Maiden and Killers, has needed a double knee replacement for years, but due to the risk of infection that comes with sepsis recovery, he’s been unable to go under the knife. “At the moment, I've only got one knee. The other knee has been taken out, but there's no new knee put in, so it's been a cement thing. But I wanna play, obviously, but I can't do that until I'm fixed. I haven't stopped playing music, and I've got no plans to retire. I wanna keep playing, but I need to get well."

The musician continues, “The sepsis really hits you hard, and on the London plane home from Argentina, everyone was saying to me, 'Hello, sir. Are you okay? Are you okay?' And I'm, like, 'Yeah, why don't you fuck off and leave me alone?' sort of thing. I didn't realize I was actually dying. And when I actually got home and I collapsed on the floor, I had my cell phone with me. I was on my own, 'cause my wife and kids were over in America. I got the ambulance people. They came down and they kicked my door in and took me to the hospital. I spent eight months in that hospital... And you've got 45 minutes to pump you full of antibiotics or you'll die. I just about made that. Eight months recovery there.”

Di’Anno also suffered a MRSA infection, which also could have killed him. Due to further infection risk, doctors won’t operate on the singer for another two years. Still, Di’Anno is optimistic he’ll return to the stage someday.

“If I can't play music, I might as well fuckin' kill myself,” he says. “My main concern is to get back onstage. I wanna play, I wanna play, I wanna play. It's driving me fucking mad not doing anything and not being able to go out. I can't even go out the house at the moment in case I get an infection again. So I'm pretty much a prisoner in my own home at the moment. So my major concern at the moment is to get my legs fixed up. And once I've gotten them fixed up, then the infections will get less and less, which will be great, and then get out on tour.” [via Blabbermouth]

Di’Anno will release a new live album, Hell Over Waltrop, in 2020. The 14-song Phantoms of the Opera set was thought to be unusable for over a decade, but modern techniques saved the German show. The album will be released Jan. 31, 2020.

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