Smoking is never good for you but in Motorhead icon Lemmy’s case, a humble cigarette once saved, if not his life, at least his toe.
NME reports that the hell-raising late rocker suffered from diabetes and it got so bad he was left with no choice but to schedule an appointment with the doctor to have his toe amputated.
Lemmy’s old friend Anthrax’s Scott Ian revealed in an interview with Landry.Audio, “He (Lemmy) literally almost lost a couple of toes because when he was in the throes of figuring out the diabetes and all that, a couple of his toes went black from bad circulation and all this.”
So like a dutiful and health conscious patient, the hard-boozing and chain-smoking Lemmy turns up at the surgery resembling a leather-clad vision from the gates of hell and takes his seat.
Now because browsing the women’s magazines was not really Lemmy’s thing, he decides to spark up a cigarette. Something which lit up the wrath of the surgery staff because smoking at the doctors is definitely a no go.
Scott Ian explained that a member of the staff asked a puffing Lemmy if he was crazy because he was in a doctor’s surgery and he wasn’t allowed to smoke. To which Lemmy replied, “If I’m gonna f***ing lose a toe, I’m gonna have a f***ing cigarette.”
Ian explained, “And long story short, they said, ‘You can’t smoke in here.’ And he said, ‘Well, then I won’t be in here.’ And he left. And he ended up seeing another doctor, and they literally told him, ‘You just need to change this or this in your diet, and your feet are gonna be fine.’ And he changed his diet, and he didn’t have to have his toes cut off.
“So a cigarette literally saved him from having a part of his body amputated.”
Life in the fast lane eventually caught up with Lemmy, but it took a lot longer than most people predicted. The Motorhead frontman died on December 28, 2015, aged 69. Although he had prostrate cancer, the cause of death was listed as congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia.
Lemmy was good mates with fellow metal icon Ozzy Osbourne. Earlier this year, Ozzy talked about the last conversation he had with his old friend.
“I phoned him on the day he died. I knew he was dying. He didn’t even know it was me…I had to say to him, ‘It’s Ozzy, Lem.’ He just gurgled down the phone to me. I said Lemmy, for f**k’s sake, stay there, I’m coming.”
Ozzy never made it in time, but reflecting on his time with Motorhead during their first American tour the “Shot In The Dark” singer said, “That’s a memory I’ll take to my grave you know. Good times, they were all good guys, I miss them all to be honest.”