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Brian May Reveals He Had a Heart Attack After His ‘Bizarre Gardening Accident’

Queen guitarist Brian May performing in 2019.
Angela Weiss, Getty Images

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Queen guitarist Brian May says he’s currently recovering after a minor heart attack revealed blockages that required surgery. The rocker experienced the health emergency earlier this month amid an incident widely reported to be a gardening mishap that saw the musician tearing a gluteal muscle.

But when the pain in his backside didn’t subside, further testing revealed a compressed nerve, as May outlines in his latest video update — watch it down toward the bottom of this post. In this midst of those health woes, the guitarist then suffered the heart attack that landed him on an operating table.

“I told you that I had a ripped muscle,” May shares in the explanation from May 24. “Now, that was the way I was diagnosed. And we thought it was, like, a bizarre gardening accident. I didn’t realize that was amusing, really — I’d kind of forgotten that anything to do with the bum, people find amusing.”

Still, May’s pain continued, and the Queen member eventually “had another MRI, but this time I had one of the lower spine. And, sure enough, we discovered that I had a compressed sciatic nerve.”

Once the nerve issue was diagnosed, however, a different kind of pain took precedence for the musician. Recounting the story of how he was driven to the hospital by his own doctor, the guitarist offers some detail about the heart attack that ultimately revealed three arterial blockages in his heart.

“In the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack,” May adds of the ordeal. “And 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.”

The emergency forced a dilemma for the musician. He had to choose between open-heart surgery —  a triple bypass — or having heart stents placed in the blocked arteries. After some deliberation with medical personnel, May chose to have the stents placed rather than undergo a more involved operation.

“It’s been amazing,” the guitarist says of his surgery and subsequent recovery. “It’s an incredible operation done by the right, skillful person. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart because I walked out with a heart that’s very strong now.”

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