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Eric, 79, said he feared the worst when he was told he had the disease three years ago, but surgeons at Cedars- Sinai hospital in Los Angeles were able to cut it out cleanly at an early stage. He wrote in Time magazine he wept with relief then celebrated by appearing on the US run of The Masked Singer.
Eric said: “It was pancreatic cancer.”
My lymph nodes were clear. The cancer is gone. They could find no further trace in my body. I had been a dead man walking. I am going to live.”
Eric – who wrote Monty Python’s Flying Circus with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam – had researched pancreatic cancer when he was writing Death the Musical.
His doctor David Kipper told him it was the “quickest way to die” and so fitted his plot about a writer who dies while writing a play about death.
A decade later Dr Kipper saw unusual readings on Eric’s routine MRI scan and requested further checks.
Eric continued: “It’s pancreatic cancer. Of course, I find it funny. How could I not? Here’s Kipper giving me the diagnosis I asked him for 10 years ago.”
“I break the news to my wife Tania. She is …determined to see me up on my feet again. We immediately decide that pancreatic cancer is such a scary term and freaks people out so much that we will call my diagnosis Kenny.”
“Kenny is far less threatening.” He checked in for surgery under the name Mr Cheeky – his character from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Eric added: “We’re starting the Bright Side Fund at standuptocancer.org/ EricIdle to fund pancreatic cancer research.”
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