Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton is saying goodbye to touring life after being diagnosed with a rare degenerative muscle disease, Fox News is reporting. The 68-year-old revealed in an interview that he was diagnosed with inclusion-body myositis (IBM) almost four years ago after suffering injuries after falling off a stage. Frampton first noticed something was wrong after he began to feel like his ankles were tight and tense in the mornings, but he chalked these symptoms up to the common side-effects that come with aging. It wasn't until he fell over when trying to kick a beach ball that he considered that his symptoms may be due to something else.
A couple of weeks after the beach ball incident, Frampton fell after tripping over a guitar cord. In addition, he noticed his arms getting weaker to the point where putting his luggage in the overhead bin while on airplanes was becoming impossible. All of these symptoms finally motivated him to see a neurologist, and he was finally diagnosed with IBM. This disease is progressive and is most common in individuals older than 50 years of age. It results in weakness and atrophy, and there is currently no cure. After enduring a bad fall on a boat while on vacation with his daughter in Maui last year, Frampton knew it was no longer realistic to continue touring life.
"I'm able to play great right now," Frampton explained. "In a year's time, maybe not so good. I'm a perfectionist, and I do not want to go out there and fell like 'Oh I can't' or 'This isn't good.' That would be a nightmare for me."Frampton acknowledged that his degenerative disease will most likely end up affecting his finger flexors, and prevent him from properly playing his guitar. Since guitar is very important to Frampton, he's deciding to step back from the touring part of his career.
"It's my passion," he said of music. "I've been playing guitar for 60 years. Started when I was 8. Now I'm 68. So I've had a very good run."
For now, Frampton says the hardest parts of his disease are making it up and down stairs and lifting anything above his head. He's acknowledged that the IBM is likely to progress, however, and has decided to make sure his final tour has a lasting impact. He has created a research fund with Johns Hopkins University, and one dollar from every ticket sold for the tour is set to go toward that fund.
The "Peter Frampton Finale Tour" kicks off June 18 and will continue until October.