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Iron Maiden Drummer Nicko McBrain Suffered A Stroke, Paralysed In One Side Of His Body

4 August 2023 | 9:12 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

"I was very worried that my career was over..."

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden (Credit: John McMurtrie)

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Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain has detailed his harrowing experience with a recent stroke and subsequent paralysis on the right side of his body.

McBrain shared a “very, very personal” message with Iron Maiden’s devoted fans by posting a video to the band's social media channels. “I wasn’t well earlier this year, as some of you have quite rightly noticed,” he began in the clip.

With a smile, McBrain said, “I just wanted to let you know, video-wise, so you can see how handsome and well I’m looking, that I’m feeling 100 per cent well.” He briefly mentioned that he’d suffered health issues in January but didn’t mention them in the video.

In the caption, McBrain revealed that he had a stroke in January. “Thank the Lord it was a minor one referred to as a TIA,” he wrote. “It left me paralysed on my right side from my shoulder on down, of course I was very worried that my career was over but with the love and support from my wife, Rebecca and family, my doctors, especially Julie my OT (occupational therapist), and my Maiden family I was able to bounce back to somewhere near 70% recovered. 

“After 10 weeks of intense therapy it was almost time to start rehearsals for our tour,” he continued. “I feel it’s important to let you know about this now instead of earlier as I was mainly concerned with doing my job and concentrating on getting back to 100% fitness. I’m not there yet but by the grace of God I’m getting better and stronger as the weeks go by.”

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The band’s manager, Rod Smallwood, added, “The rest of the band and I think that what Nicko has been able to achieve since his stroke shows incredible belief and willpower and we’re all very proud of him, he just got his head down and concentrated on recovery. We honestly did not know if he would be able to play a whole show until band rehearsals started in May and there was just so much support for him from the band and then genuine relief for all when we saw he was going to be able to do it!

Iron Maiden will embark on Western Canada tour dates and headline the inaugural California Power Trip festival later this year.

In December, Kill Your Stereo discovered McBrain quietly battled laryngeal cancer in 2020. Luckily for the powerhouse drummer, the diagnosis was stage one, and he’ll be just fine.

"I thoroughly recommend that anyone who may feel there is something different with their voice to go and get it checked out," McBrain advised. "And don’t put it off. It was very good for me that I caught it in stage 1."

His doctor, Dr David E. Rosow, added, "Anyone who is experiencing a voice change that lasts longer than three weeks should see an otolaryngologist who can evaluate a person’s vocal folds... The prognosis with early (stage 1) tumours is excellent, with published cure rates of 95% and up."