The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh is recovering from a liver transplant performed December 17 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. According to a statement issued on the band’s official website, Lesh’s doctors report that he is responding well and should see an early release from the hospital.
The statement reads that although Lesh, 58, was generally in excellent health for many years, in 1992 he discovered that at sometime in the past, he had been infected by Hepatitis C. He was stricken with internal bleeding in September, 1998, which brought to light the liver damage.
It adds that Lesh initially maintained silence about his condition to create a “calm atmosphere for his children,” but now intends to become an active campaigner in work related to his ailment and transplants in general. Lesh had previously been counseled by fellow transplant recipient, veteran musician David Crosby.
Meanwhile longtime Dead publicist Dennis McNally told the Associated Press that while
the Dead’s drug use in their heyday was well documented, there is no way of knowing what caused Lesh’s hepatitis infection.