Guitar Legend Leslie West Has Leg Amputated in Emergency Surgery
Guitar legend Leslie West is recovering and is with his family following an emergency surgery over the weekend in which his leg had to be amputated. West had flown into Mississippi -- a state whose name appears in the title of his biggest hit, 'Mississippi Queen' -- to perform with his band, Mountain. West, a diabetic, was rushed to the hospital on Saturday (June 18) after his leg began to swell significantly. Surgery was able to save his life but not the limb below one of his knees, which was successfully removed.
West became a true guitar hero as the axe-slinging leader of Mountain, which in many ways can be seen as the successor band to Cream -- with West in the role of Eric Clapton, if that's how you want to look at it. Formed in 1969 by West -- who took the band name as a play on both his guitar playing abilities and his physical stature -- and Cream producer Felix Pappalardi, the band found immediate success. Their fourth gig ever was Woodstock. Furthering both the direct and indirect Cream connection, Cream's Jack Bruce -- who co-wrote a hit for Mountain -- and West formed a power trio (West, Bruce & Laing) during one of Mountain's intermittent breakups or, rather, hiatuses.
West's upcoming Mountain album is entitled 'The Unusual Suspects' and will feature guest appearances by fellow guitar heroes Slash, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa and others. A release date has yet to be set.
More importantly, West is fully expected to make a healthy recovery but, of course, faces extensive rehabilitation. A press release about his surgery states that "the family has requested that the public and media respect his privacy while he comes to terms with this life-changing transition."
Understood. In the meantime, we wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him return to his guitar-shredding form as soon as possible.