Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

Dave Mustaine at the 2018 Grammys
JP Yim / Getty Images

A major figure in American heavy metal music has announced some unfortunate health news.

Dave Mustaine, the longtime frontman of Megadeth, and before that a member of Metallica, announced on his Facebook page Monday that he has been diagnosed with throat cancer, and has already begun treatment.

“It’s clearly something to be respected and faced head on – but I’ve faced obstacles before,” Mustaine wrote in the post. “I’m working closely with my doctors, and we’ve mapped out a treatment plan which they feel has a 90% success rate.”

Mustaine also announced that the diagnosis means the band will have to cancel most of its scheduled 2019 shows. He did say, however, that this year’s Megadeth cruise, the Megacruise, will go on and “the band will be a part of it in some form.”

Mustaine added that the band remains in the studio, working on their next album.

The 57-year-old first performed with a band called Panic, but he joined Metallica, as the band’s original lead guitarist, beginning in 1981. Mustaine clashed with the other members of the band, both over his drug and alcohol use and his ever-present dog, per an article in The Realms of Deth. Mustaine was kicked out of the group in 1983, shortly before the recording of their album Kill ‘Em All. While he never played on the band’s studio albums, Mustaine appeared on stage with the band and had writing credit on several of their songs.

Mustaine played with other bands throughout the ’80s before founding Megadeth in 1984, with himself as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter. Mustaine has performed with Megadeth ever since, although the band has undergone various lineup changes.

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The performer became a born-again Christian and entered recovery programs for his drinking. However, he said in an interview with Loudwire in 2013 that while he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he no longer believes in religion. Mustaine had faced backlash for his criticism of homosexuality.

Mustaine also said in an interview with WZLX in 2011 that he suffered from stenosis in his neck due to his years of “headbanging.”

“I knew I was hurt, but I didn’t know how bad. Nobody knew the writing was on the wall. I pretty much thought, ‘Well, I’m hurt, but I’ll just take it easy, have a couple of glasses of wine,” the rocker said in the interview. “I saw chiropractors and masseuses all the time. It inevitably gets to the point where you’re starting to take medication, and that’s never good because if you’re taking something you never feel the pain.”