BLAZE BAYLEY Reflects On His Heart Attack: 'I Was 10 Minutes From Death'

September 4, 2023

Former IRON MAIDEN singer Blaze Bayley has opened up about his health – six months after undergoing a quadruple bypass surgery following a heart attack in March. The singer — who fronted MAIDEN two and a half decades ago — told The Metal Voice in a new interview (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's so many lucky things about a terrible incident in my life. I'm at home on Saturday. On the Friday, I've just signed off on what I think is probably the final mastered mix of a new album. That's on a Friday. Here I am on a Saturday. On the Monday, I'm scheduled to go on tour in Europe to continue with 'The Man Who Would Not Die' tour. And there I am, and I've got chest pains, and I think, 'Oh, is this indigestion?' I'm having a heart attack. I live two minutes from the ambulance station. I'm on the phone, and apparently the paramedics, they were going on their break towards the ambulance station and they said, 'Oh, we heard that call. It's on our way. We'll take that call.' Two minutes, they're in my house. I've got wires on my chest. 'You're having a heart attack.' I live in the city, but I'm between four hospitals. In 15 minutes I'm having treatment, and they're injecting me with dye to see what the problems are and everything. So that's it. I'm safe. I'm in hospital 15 minutes later."

Blaze continued: "They said, the paramedics, if that had been 10 minutes [later], there's no way you'd make it. So I was 10 minutes from death. I had a heart attack, not heart failure. They got to me in time. But if I'd have been somewhere else, if I'd have been in Eurotunnel, if I'd have been in a hotel room alone, or on the autobahn in Germany — anywhere, man… It's just terrifying, really, to think about where I could be. And when they said, 'Oh, you should be able to make it back,' I said, 'I've gotta get back to work. I can't leave it like this.' I've done an album called 'War Within Me', and I haven't toured the whole thing. I'm thinking of my fans and everything. I thought, 'I can't leave it like this. I've still got more music to make. I've got things to say, and I don't wanna feel like I'm letting my fans down either.' So I was so focused."

Bayley added: "It took a while — like a few weeks — before they could put me in for the surgery. It was a quadruple bypass. Basically, they cut you in half. They cut me in half, they do a load of plumbing and then they put you back together. And the guy said, 'We wired you back together with surgical steel wire.' He said, 'We've doubled wired.' I said, 'So even more metal?' Yeah, even more metal. So I've got more metal in me than a normal heart patient."

Asked what symptoms he experienced prior to suffering his heart attack, Blaze said: "It's different for everyone. And this is why it's so confusing. That's why I didn't know I was having a heart attack. My heart attack was a pain that starts — it's like someone sitting on your chest or being kicked by a horse in your chest in slow motion, and it goes from the front to the back and you're sweating and all of this. That's how it happened for me. That's common. The other thing that happens is, for some people — and I didn't have any of this — you start going numb, you start going tingly down your left arm and it spreads across you. That's another thing. And for other people, there are other symptoms. So you just don't know."

Regarding what steps other men can take toward reducing their chances of having a heart attack, Blaze said: "You've gotta try and head it off early by getting tested for your cholesterol, your triglycerides, and all of this. And just exercise is vital, and we just don't realize that. It's vital. I think chronic laziness is one of the things. You get out the van, you get on the stage, I'm active for a couple of hours, breathing all of that, hadn't been away for a while, hadn't done anything for a while. COVID, two years of not going out there all the time. And I think that a big combination of things, and some bad habits, that led up to something that was almost fatal, really."

Two months ago, Blaze shared details of the massive outpouring of well-wishes he received after his heart attack, including messages from his former MAIDEN bandmates.

"The thing I feel most lucky about is the incredible support I've had from my fans," he told BLABBERMOUTH.NET. "All over the world. My WOLFSBANE, Blaze Bayley, the MAIDEN fans. Everybody bought a t-shirt for a tour that was postponed. They still bought it to support me. I'm just incredibly lucky. And the letters people wrote to me. Hundreds of cards from all over the place. It's very humbling."

Blaze continued: "I've always put my whole life into music. It is my life. When people get in touch with you and say, 'I wish you well because your music has gotten me through tough times,' 'Your music meant this to me,' 'I first saw you way back when and it's been the soundtrack to my life,' it's incredible. I got a massive card from the MAIDEN fan club. The [MAIDEN] guys all sent me a message. I'm always in touch with Steve Harris [MAIDEN bassist] anyway, but everyone sent messages of support."

A heart bypass surgery, or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, is used to improve blood flow to the heart. A surgeon uses blood vessels taken from another area of the body to bypass the damaged arteries.

The term quadruple bypass refers to the number of coronary arteries bypassed in the procedure. In other words, a quadruple bypass means four coronary arteries are bypassed.

The 60-year-old Bayley fronted IRON MAIDEN from 1994 until 1999. The two MAIDEN albums he appeared on, "The X Factor" and "Virtual XI", sold considerably less than the band's prior releases and were their lowest-charting titles in the group's home country since 1981's "Killers".

Since leaving IRON MAIDEN in 1999, Bayley has released a number of albums, including several under the moniker BLAZE and more than a handful under his own name. He also appeared on 2012's "Wolfsbane Saves The World", the first album of new material by WOLFSBANE since the group's self-titled 1994 effort, and a follow-up LP, 2022's "Genius".

Blaze's latest studio album, "War Within Me", came out in April 2021. The LP was recorded during 2020 with work split between Blaze's studio at home in the West Midlands and Christopher Appleton's studio in Greater Manchester.

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