Lou Reed Liver Transplant, Rock legend Lou Reed, shown in November, quietly underwent a liver transplant in April, according to his wife, Laurie Anderson. She credits the operation with saving his life. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lou Reed abruptly canceled his April performances at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, with no explanation offered beyond “unavoidable circumstances.” Now we know the reason why.
According to a June 1 interview with his wife, noted musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson, Reed, 71, underwent what she describes as a life-saving liver transplant at a Cleveland hospital in April.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time in Cleveland these past few weeks,” Anderson said, speaking to The Times of London newspaper. “My husband had a big surgery, which went very well. It’s as serious as it gets. He was dying.”
In 1992, Reed wrote: “I tried to give up drugs by drinking. It didn’t work.”
Anderson did not discuss any specifics about what led to her husband’s liver transplant. But she sounded a note of optimism about his prognosis. “This is no longer an operation that is life threatening. They put (the new liver) in immediately and it started working immediately,” she told The Times.
Reed’s last public appearance was in March in New York, where he turned up at a fan event to listen to, and discuss, his landmark solo album, “Transformer.”
That 1972 release, produced by Reed admirer David Bowie and Bowie band guitarist Mick Ronson, yielded such Reed classics as “Perfect Day,” “Satellite of Love” and “Walk on the Wild Side.” Reed pulled out of his two Coachella performances soon after his March appearance and has maintained an understandably low profile since then.
Anderson marveled at the complex path that had to be carefully negotiated in order to make Reed’s liver transplant a success.
“You send out two planes – one for the donor, one for the recipient – at the same time,” she told The Times. “You bring the donor in live, you take him off life support. It’s a technological feat. I was completely awestruck. I find certain things about technology truly, deeply inspiring.”
Reed was treated at the Mayo Clinic in Cleveland, according to Anderson. While she does not believe his health will ever fully return to normal, she sounds confident that he will return to the music that has been synonymous with his name since he co-founded the pioneering band Velvet Underground the mid-1960s.