drummer Nicko McBrain revealed that he was left paralysed on his right side from his shoulder down after he suffered a stroke in January.
The musician – real name Michael Henry McBrain – said he worried his career would be over after he had the mini stroke, known as a transient ischaemic attack (TIA).
After 10 weeks of what he described as ‘intense therapy’, the 71-year-old said that it was almost time for him to start rehearsals for Iron Maiden’s The Future Past Tour 2023.
In a statement posted to Iron Maiden’s accounts, the drummer said: ‘The reason I’m writing to you all today is to let you know of a very serious health problem that I have been through.
‘In January I had a stroke, thank the Lord it was a minor one referred to as a TIA.
‘It left me paralysed… with the love and support from my wife, Rebecca and family, my doctors, especially Julie my OT (Occupational Therapist), and my Maiden family I was able to bounce back to somewhere near 70% recovered.’
He added: ‘I feel it’s important to let you know about this now instead of earlier as I was mainly concerned with doing my job and concentrating on getting back to 100% fitness.
‘I’m not there yet but by the grace of God I’m getting better and stronger as the weeks go by.
‘Thank you all for a most wonderful and magical tour so far, you have all been so amazing.
‘Well that’s it from me. God bless you all, stay safe and well and I look forward to seeing you all somewhere in time.’
Iron Maiden’s manager, Rod Smallwood, commented on Nicko’s stroke and said: ‘The rest of the band and l think that what Nicko has been able to achieve since his stroke shows incredible belief and willpower and we are all very proud of him.
‘With this new and musically very complex set to learn ahead of him, he just got his head down and concentrated on recovery.
‘We honestly did not know if he would be able to play a whole show until band rehearsals started in May and there was just so much support for him from the band and then genuine relief for all when we saw he was going to be able to do it.
‘Nicko being Nicko he did not want to make a fuss and cause any distraction to the tour at the time but, now that he is sure he will soon get there, he thought you fans should know straight from him rather than by any rumours.
‘We are all, of course, delighted he battled through this so well and look forward to many more tours together starting with the three western Canada shows and Power Trip in California coming up in a couple of months’ time. We can’t wait. This tour is that good.’
Iron Maiden formed in east London in the 1970s and Nicko joined the heavy metal band in 1982.
The group started their 2023 tour in Slovenia in May, four months on from the star’s mini stroke.
They played a string of shows in the UK and Ireland in June and July.
The tour will wrap up at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California in October.