Published July 07, 2006
NEW YORK –
Tenor Luciano Pavarotti underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer and is "recovering well," his manager said Friday.
The 70-year-old singer was preparing to leave New York last week to resume his farewell world concert tour in Britain when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass, Terri Robson said from her London office.
"Fortunately, the mass was able to be completely removed at surgery," she said in a statement. "Mr. Pavarotti is recovering well and his physicians are encouraged by the physical and emotional resilience of their patient."
She told The Associated Press he underwent surgery within the past week at a hospital in New York that she declined to identify.
She said he remained hospitalized Friday.
As a result of Pavarotti's treatment, all remaining 2006 concerts have been canceled, she said. It is anticipated that tour plans will resume in early 2007.
Concerts had been scheduled for Finland, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Portugal in September.
Pavarotti was forced to postpone five June dates because of complications from back surgery. He canceled eight concerts in April, saying he had been advised not to travel or perform while undergoing back treatment.
Because pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage, it has one of the worst prognoses of all types of malignancies. Less than 4 percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis, and most die within a year. Even in the minority of cases where the tumor can be operated on, only about 23 percent remain cancer free.
Robson didn't say what type of pancreatic cancer Pavarotti had. In 2004, Apple Computer Inc.'s Steve Jobs said he had a less-lethal form of the disease and that doctors had successfully removed his cancerous tumor.
Pavarotti made his debut as Rodolfo in Puccini's "La Boheme" at Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 1961, and took advantage of the television age to become the world's most widely recognized opera singer.
He made his American debut in Miami in 1965 opposite Joan Sutherland in Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" and his Metropolitan Opera debut in New York on Nov. 23, 1968, in "La Boheme." He became a star when he nailed the nine high Cs in "Ah! Mes amis" as Tonio in Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" at the Met in 1972.
His Met finale, on March 13, 2004, was his 379th performance with the company. He sang 140 times at Milan's Teatro all La Scala, 100 at London's Royal Opera, 76 each with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera, 48 at the Opera de Paris and 45 at the Vienna State Opera.
He retired from opera two years ago, saying his weight problem and bad knee prevented him from moving comfortably around stages. But he kept up with his concert career.
Pavarotti joined with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras to form The Three Tenors, who sang 34 concerts from 1990 through 2003. They sang together before four World Cup finals, at Rome (1990), Los Angeles (1994), Paris (1998) and Yokohama, Japan (2002).
Domingo was to be joined Friday night by tenor Rolando Villazon and soprano Anna Netrebko for this year's pre-World Cup final concert in Berlin.