Brian May was "very near death" after suffering a heart attack doctors say was prompted by three blocked arteries, the Queen guitarist revealed to his social media followers Sunday. May sought medical attention when he suffered a chest pain that lasted 40 minutes amid his recovery from a gardening accident during which he ripped his buttock muscles.
"In the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack," he said in an Instagram video. "I say small – it's not something that did me any harm. It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness and that feeling in the arms and sweating."
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May continued, explaining that his doctor drove him to the hospital, where he underwent an angiogram right away. During the procedure, doctors found three arteries "that were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood" to his heart. The musician said that he opted not to undergo open-heart surgery, opting instead to have three stents put in.
In the caption of his announcement, May joked that he now has a whole new perspective on Queen's album Sheer Heart Attack. "Well, I think I always worried a little bit about that album title," he wrote. "I wondered if it might upset some people who had actually had heart attacks. I'm actually quite relieved now that I'm in that club - and I don't find it upsetting at all!"
He added of the spinal pain he has been suffering, which he said was the result of "squished" discs, "I think 50 years of running around with a guitar strap over my left shoulder holding a heavy guitar might have something to do with it ! But it probably WAS all worth it!"
May's fans were taken aback at the news he had come so close to dying, sending him emotional messages urging him to get well. "I'm at a loss for words Brian," one person wrote. "I thank god you are alright and continuing to be on the mend. I think it's wonderful that you have such a positive outlook because most of this healing is mental. You mean so much to me and so many others. Thank you for sharing this with us and I pray for your continued recovery."
Another added, "Brian, you are one of the strongest people I know and I am incredibly grateful that you are happy and getting healthy after all that has happened. I am grateful for the NHS staff who have helped you throughout and I am grateful that you are still here with us to tell the tale. Keep on rocking man."