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Queen’s Brian May ‘Grateful’ After Recovering From ‘Small Heart Attack’

Guitarist says medical ordeal left him “very near death”

Queen's Brian May feels "incredibly grateful" after recovering from a small heart attack that left him "very near death."

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

Queen’s Brian May revealed that he’s feeling “incredibly grateful” after recovering from a “small heart attack” that left him “very near death.”

And it’s only part of a complicated medical ordeal for the guitarist, who was recently hospitalized after ripping his gluteus maximus in what he calls a “bizarre gardening accident.” That incident left May in debilitating pain that puzzled his doctors. “No other test were done,” he said in an Instagram post. “Now, a week later, [I was] still in agony. I mean, real agony. I wanted to jump at some point. I could not believe the pain.”

After a lower spine MRI, doctors discovered he had a “quite severely” compressed sciatic nerve. “That’s why I had this feeling,” he said, “that someone was putting a screwdriver in my back the whole time.” (“Why did those discs in my spine get so squished?” May mused in the post’s caption. “Well 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!”)

Now able to properly treat his ailment, May finally recovered from the “terrible pain, which actually destroys your mind.” But as that health scare resolved, another developed.

“In the middle of the whole saga of the whole painful backside, I had a small heart attack. I say ‘small,’ you know — 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.”

After May’s doctor drove him to the hospital, the musician was diagnosed with three congested arteries. Presented with his treatment options, he declined having open-heart surgery and instead had three stents put in.

“I’m incredibly grateful that I now have a life to lead again,” May said. “I was actually very near death because of this, but the pain that I had was from something completely different, it’s funny how things work. I’m good; I’m here; and I’m ready to rock.”