Pavarotti recovering after cancer surgery
LONDON: Luciano Pavarotti, regarded by many as the greatest tenor of his generation, is recovering in a US hospital after undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer, his manager said.
The Italian singer, 70, has been forced to postpone his farewell opera tour until 2007.
He was preparing to leave New York last week to perform at concerts in Britain when doctors readmitted him to the hospital after the results of a routine medical test raised concern.
"Mr Pavarotti underwent a diagnostic evaluation and a malignant pancreatic mass was identified. Fortunately, the mass was able to be completely removed at surgery," Terri Robson said.
"Pavarotti remains under the care of a team of doctors in New York, and will undergo a course of treatment over the coming months," she added.
The surgery is the latest setback for the tenor, who has been forced to cancel several dates on his marathon farewell tour this year due to medical problems, including back complications.
Robson would not say what hospital was treating Pavarotti, and added only that he had undergone surgery "within the last seven days."
"Pavarotti is recovering well, and his physicians are encouraged by the physical and emotional resilience of their patient," she said.
"As a result of Mr Pavarotti's forthcoming treatment, all remaining 2006 concerts have been cancelled. It is anticipated that tour plans will recommence in early 2007."
Since his operatic debut in 1961, Pavarotti has become one of the most recognised classical musicians in the world, regularly gracing the stage at New York's Metropolitan Opera, London's Covent Garden and La Scala in Milan.
His operatic breakthrough came at the Met, which he refers to as "my home," when, in 1972, he famously hit nine high C's in a row in "Daughter of the Regiment."
Fittingly, it was at the same venue that he said farewell to opera, in a performance of Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca" in March, 2004.
He entered mainstream culture in 1990 when he sang Puccini's aria "Nessun Dorma" at the soccer World Cup in Italy alongside Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, pancreatic cancer is the 14th most common cancer world-wide with about 216,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
There are few early symptoms of cancer of the pancreas, which is a gland in the abdomen, and no screening test. Most cases occur in people over the age of 60, with smokers and diabetics facing a higher risk of developing the disease.
Patients have a better prognosis if the cancer is detected early, before it has spread, but the five-year survival rates are poor at less than 5 per cent.