The family of Australian music legend John Farnham said he is ‘progressing well’ and has been moved from intensive care to a general hospital ward.
The 73-year-old required an operation by 26 surgeons over a marathon 12-hour operation to remove a cancerous growth from his mouth and part of his jaw in August.
Family say he is ‘unlikely’ to ever perform again – but an update from wife Jill and sons Rob and James encouraged his fans the singer is on the road to recovery after being moved into a general room.
‘That in itself is terrific progress,’ the family said in a statement.
‘This week John has been transferred into a rehabilitation facility. Each of these steps means things are moving in the right direction and for that we are enormously thankful.’
They also thanked his ‘many thousands’ of fans who created a website to support Farnham called weloveyoujohn.com.au.
Farnham had only discovered he had the cancerous growth in his mouth after his wife Jill insisted on taking him to the doctor for a check up.
‘The cancer tumour was located in his mouth and it has been successfully removed,’ Mrs Farnham said.
‘There is still a long road of recovery and healing ahead of us, but we know John is up for that task.’
At the time, Gaynor Wheatley, the widow of Glenn Wheatley, said Farnham’s family only learnt of his cancer a few weeks ago.
‘I think John suffers from that man thing that says ”I’m fine”, and was lucky, and we have Jill to thank to take him to the doctors (where they) found this legion in his mouth which has now been taken out and addressed,’ she told The Today Show.
She said there was no complications, and thanked the ‘hero’ surgeons who operated on Farnham.
‘I think at one stage there was 26 surgeons, so they’re our heroes, they’re our rockstars,’ Ms Wheatley said.
She added that Farnham was expected to be ‘looking great’ by Christmas.
Farnham earlier opened up about his smoking habit, which he says began when he was a ‘stupid’ 14-year-old.
He quit ‘cold turkey’ in 1992 after starring in Jesus Christ Superstar, but picked up the habit again with cigars in 2004.
He officially quit smoking for good just before his 70th birthday
‘Stupid habit. It was a little easier to quit from cigars, but I’m better off not smoking, I’m a bloody singer for God’s sake,’ he told the Herald Sun in 2019.
‘I’m using my lungs. I’ve already noticed the change. I’ve increased my range, I’ve got a bit more to give, I’ve taken a blockage out.’
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford said Farnham was given a ‘wake up call’ by one of his sons who told the singer ‘please stop smoking dad, I don’t want you to die’.
That led to him cutting out cigarettes for good.
‘He was always puffing away, I don’t think he was ever proud of it,’ the reporter said.
Farnham, in a separate statement provided by the family, said a cancer diagnosis was something many people face each day ‘and countless others have walked this path before me’.
‘The one thing I know for sure is that we have the very best specialist health care professionals in Victoria and we can all be grateful for that. I know I am,’ he said.
It comes three years after Farnham was hospitalised with a severe kidney infection – which saw him put down cigars for good.