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18 May 1996

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Anderson in fight for his life

Jethro Tull star Ian Anderson is seriously ill in an Australian hospital, it was confirmed last night.

The wild man of rock — founder member of the hugely successful group, as well as being a highly capable businessman in his own right — is suffering from a potentially fatal blood clot.

The band have cancelled the European, Australian and New Zealand sections of their current world tour, while the multi-millionaire receives vital treatment.

Earlier this month the Edinburgh-born singer, musician and composer announced he was to turn his back on the boardroom and return to the road for a major series of concerts.

He handed over the running of his Inverness fish farming empire to Michael Lunn, former boss of whisky giants, Whyte and Mackay, before setting off on an exhausting global tour, But last night Anderson confirmed he was suffering from a serious thrombosis condition after a recent injury.

He tore a ligament during a typically energetic performance at a concert in Lima, Peru, in March, and had to have surgery in Britain.

In a statement issued by Chrysalis, the band's record label, Anderson said:

"After the second concert in Australia some complications were discovered and I was admitted urgently to a Sydney hospital, suffering from a serious thrombosis condition. Doctors are working to stabilise this problem, and will decide in due course when it is safe for me to make the return trip to the UK.

"I have been advised that a subsequent period of three months will have to elapse before I may consider any further travel.

"I deeply regret the need to cancel our tours of New Zealand and Australia, as well as the many European concerts due to take place in June and July.

"Beyond that our concerts must remain unconfirmed until this potentially serious condition has been made stable."

Anderson, whose wife Shona is the neice of the Duchess of Rutland, is the only member of the original Jethro Tull line-up. He formed the band in Luton in 1967, and two years later they made number three in the charts with the song 'Living In The Past'. Under his direction, the band went on to produce 21 albums — but was hit by tragedy in 1979 when John Glascock died.