Monday 11 December 2017

Christy Dignam - I felt ready to die

Christy Dignam in the Coronary Care Unit in Beaumont Hospital
Christy Dignam in the Coronary Care Unit in Beaumont Hospital
Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

Aslan lead singer Christy Dignam felt “ready to die” when his heart stopped while he battled cancer.

But he decided he wanted to live as doctors fought to save his life.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, the 52-year-old Aslan singer said cancer was both “the worst and best thing” that has happened to him.

“Finally I know what life is really about: it’s not about the music business and selling more records than U2, the most important thing is family,” he said.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Christy told how doctors had to administer adrenaline twice after his heart stopped.

They also believe he may have had cancer for over a year.

Christy played some 100 gigs in the 12 months before the shock diagnosis, and only stopped when his concerned wife Kathryn said she was calling an ambulance.


Dignam credits his wife Kathryn with saving his life after she forced him to go to hospital instead of playing a gig.

The Aslan star was only diagnosed with cancer last month – but incredibly doctors believe that he had the disease for over a year.

During that time he played dozens of gigs the length and breadth of the country.

“There were all sorts of signs, but to be honest, I ignored them,” he told the Herald. “Aslan are a working band. All the guys have

mortgages, bills had to be paid.

“I just kept gigging. It started to get really bad about six months ago when I found myself getting breathless walking a few streets to a gig in Cork.

“There was something badly wrong but I just didn't know what,” he said.

The singer was put on 12 courses of antibiotics in the past year by doctors believing he was suffering from pneumonia.

Matters came to head earlier this month before Aslan were due to perform a show in Wexford.

“I was planning on going to hospital but only after we did the gig.

“It was my wife Kathryn who saved me.

“She took one look at me and said ‘I don't care if you divorce me for this, I'm calling an ambulance’,” he


“She saved my life because the doctors told me later, if I had played that gig, I would have died, my condition was that weak.”

Online Editors

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