Wednesday 26 April 2017

Singer Brian Kennedy tells of his own cancer fight... after brother Bap reveals he's terminally-ill

Brian Kennedy
Brian Kennedy

Sasha Brady & Louise Kelly

Singer Brian Kennedy has revealed that he is battling cancer - shortly after his older brother Bap said his own cancer diagnosis was terminal.

The much-loved Irish entertainer revealed today that he is suffering from rectal cancer, saying he was lucky enough to have caught the illness early and would not have found it at all were it not for his brother Bap's diagnosis.

The 49-year old took to the Matt Cooper Show on Today FM to share the devastating news.

"I have just started a journey with cancer, I'm afraid to say. It was a huge shock of course weirdly enough today is my 2nd week of treatment. It’s a milestone already even though it’s only 2 weeks," he said.

"I had radiation about three hours ago In Vincent’s hospital. What I have is called rectal cancer. As I said to my doctor, could I get a more embarrassing version of this disease? Cancer in my bum, really?

"I thought I was doing everything right. Actually, I am doing all the right things. Something was up. Last year, if I can be frank, I had some blood downstairs when I was going to the loo and I’m nearly 50. Things are changing.

Leo Varadkar, Minister for Social Protection and singer Brian Kennedy at a Rainbow Vigil at Barnado's Square in June to express their solidarity and sympathy with the victims of the Orlando shooting tragedy.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Leo Varadkar, Minister for Social Protection and singer Brian Kennedy at a Rainbow Vigil at Barnado's Square in June to express their solidarity and sympathy with the victims of the Orlando shooting tragedy. Photo: Tony Gavin

"Fellas of my age, if you have even a grain of doubt, just get it checked."

Kennedy said that he feels "incredibly lucky" that he caught the cancer early and is responding well to treatment.

Brian Kennedy with singers Una Healy and Paula Gilmers ahead of his Eurovision performance in Athens, 2015.
Brian Kennedy with singers Una Healy and Paula Gilmers ahead of his Eurovision performance in Athens, 2015.

His brother and fellow musician Bap (53) has been admitted to the Marie Curie Hospice for pain management after receiving the shattering news that his illness was terminal.

Fans have continued to rally round the popular singer as he comes to terms with what he described himself as "the worst-case scenario".

Musician Bap Kennedy with his wife Brenda
Musician Bap Kennedy with his wife Brenda

Bap's devoted wife Brenda has moved into the hospice to stay with her husband and has been by his side night and day as medical staff try and control his pain.

"If the universe was giving anybody the ability to talk about having cancer up your bum, you chose well universe because I’m Brian Kennedy and I’m not afraid to talk about this stuff," he said.

Kennedy grew up on Falls Road, West Belfast at the height of the Troubles and despite his harsh upbringing managed to carve out a successful career in music.

He said of his childhood: “I shouldn’t have become a singer really, given where and how my life started, but my voice had other plans and saved me in the end.”

He busked on the streets in Belfast and then moved to London at 18, living in illegal squats as he pursued his musical ambitions. He sang in underground stations in order to get money for food and save up to buy a guitar, and was eventually discovered by the Spice Girls' manager, Simon Fuller.

His career, which spans over two and a half decades, has seen him team up with Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker, among others.

The Belfast singer and former Voice Of Ireland judge is helping Today FM launch their Dare to Care fundraising campaign for the Irish Cancer Society.

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