‘Game of Thrones’ actor Wilko Johnson says that cancer diagnosis made him feel ‘vividly alive’

By Daniel Levine,

Game of Thrones actor Wilko Johnson spoke about his cancer diagnosis for the first time since the news was announced by his manager. The Dr Feelgood guitarist admits that the news made him feel an “elation of spirit.”

Johnson’s manager announced the news earlier this month on his Facebook page. His manager revealed that Johnson has terminal pancreatic cancer and will not receive chemotherapy.

“I noticed the symptoms a few months ago - there was this lump in my stomach. I treated it by ignoring it and hoping it would go away,” Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Park Row. “When I went in for the diagnosis and the doctor told me 'You've got cancer' it was quite plain it was an inoperable thing, there was nothing they could do.”

Rather than feel sorry for himself, Johnson said that he suddenly felt more alive than ever.

“We walked out of there and I felt an elation of spirit. You're walking along and suddenly you're vividly alive. You're looking at the trees and the sky and everything and it's just 'whoah,’” he explained. “I am actually a miserable person. I've spent most of my life moping in depressions and things, but this has all lifted.”

The Los Angeles Times notes that the guitarist has planned for a farewell tour with dates in Britain and France. His doctors gave him just nine to 10 months to live and he’s going to make the best of it.

“I'm not hoping for a miracle cure or anything. I just hope it spares me long enough to do these gigs, then I'll be a happy man,” he told the BBC.

Johnson, 65, plays Ser Ilyn Payne, a mute knight, on HBO’s Game of Thrones. You can listen to the interview here.

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