Jimmy Barnes to undergo urgent surgery as bacterial infection worsens

Jimmy Barnes has emergency heart surgery

Australian music icon Jimmy Barnes will undergo urgent open-heart surgery Wednesday to fight the spread of an aggressive bacterial infection.

“Unfortunately I got some bad news yesterday,” Barnes said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

“Despite everyone’s best efforts, the bacterial infection I’ve been battling over the past fortnight has apparently now spread to my heart,” he added.

“It’s infected an otherwise healthy valve that was replaced some years ago due to a congenital defect, so I’ll be getting open-heart surgery over the next few hours.”

Barnes first revealed his serious illness last month when he cancelled an upcoming show and revealed he was in hospital.

The Cold Chisel frontman said his hospitalisation had meant he had to abandon plans to head to Noumea to play at the Rock The Boat 2023 concert.

On Wednesday he said his surgery would “take me out of action for a while”.

“I know lots of other people are battling even worse things, but it still feels hugely frustrating,” he said. “Just a few weeks ago I was the fittest I’ve been in decades.”

Barnes apologised to fans for any inconvenience he may have caused and asked for their patience while his team worked to figure out the future of his upcoming shows.

Barnes thanked his medical team, as well as his wife Jane for her “around the clock love and care over the last few weeks in particular”.

He said that given the serious nature of his operation, he did not expect to post on social media for a few weeks.

“So all the best to you and yours for the holidays. Here’s hoping 2024 is full of much better things!”

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can be caused by bacteria or a virus. Website Health Direct says it causes swelling in the lungs as air sacs fill up with fluid, making it harder to breathe.

Bacterial pneumonia may be caused by the pneumococcal bacteria, called streptococcus pneumoniae. This is one of the worst types of pneumonia,” it says.

“Pneumonia can be a mild illness, or it can be much more serious.”

It can be life-threatening, particularly for babies under 12 months,
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and those older than 70 years.

Barnes’ illness comes after he had hip and back surgery late last year, after which he endured weeks of bed rest.

In 2007, Barnes had heart surgery to correct a congenital condition and he had emergency back surgery in 2014 after suffering complications from an earlier procedure.

Scottish-born Barnes joined Adelaide-based Cold Chisel in the early 1970s and the band went on to release a string of hit albums.

He embarked on a successful solo career in 1983.

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