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Peter Frampton reveals degenerative muscle disease diagnosis

Peter Frampton © Getty

Peter Frampton has revealed he is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM).

The Kent-born guitar legend announced a sprawling 40-date North American farewell tour last week in addition to his previously confirmed show on Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping The Blues Alive at Sea Mediterranean cruise, which sails from Barcelona in August.

Appearing on US TV show CBS This Morning: Saturday over the weekend, 68-year-old Frampton explained the tour will definitely be his last one due to his rare and incurable condition, IBM, which causes muscles to weaken over time.

Frampton said he was first diagnosed with the disease three-and-a-half years ago after he fell over on stage, however he booked his farewell tour when he noticed the effects speeding up last autumn.

“The reason I’m calling it the ‘farewell tour,’ again, is because I know that I will be at the top of my game for this tour and I will make it through this and people won’t be saying, ‘Oh you know, he can’t play as good.’ I can. But we just don’t know for how long,” Frampton told co-host Anthony Mason.

Although he has confident he can play the dates in 2019, Frampton said “in a year’s time, maybe (my condition might not be) so good.

“I’m a perfectionist and I do not want to go out there and feel like, ‘Oh I can’t, this isn’t good.’ That would be a nightmare for me. I’ve been playing guitar for 60 years. Started when I was 8 and now I’m 68. So I’ve had a very good run.”

Frampton said that, at the moment, IBM has predominately affected his legs: “Going upstairs and downstairs is the hardest thing for me. I’m going to have to get a cane … and then the other thing I noticed, I can’t put things up over my head.”

In another interview with Rolling Stone, Frampton said he expects the condition will have an impact on his guitar playing but not his singing voice.

“There is another part to the disease that can affect swallowing, but it’s only 50 percent of the people that have it. I don’t have it, thank goodness," Frampton said.

“It’s a very boutique — I hate to use that word, but it is — disease. Only 24,000 people in this country (USA) know they have it. But I’m sure there’s a lot more that just think they are getting old like I did.”

He added: "In a year’s time, I might not be able to play. Right now, it’s progressing but I’m still at the top of my game. We decided to do a farewell tour now since I don’t want to go out and not be able to play well. If I’m going to do a farewell tour, I want to play good. I want to rock it.

"I know that this tour, I will be able to do everything I did last year and the year before. That’s the most important thing to me. I want to go out screaming as opposed to, “He can’t play anymore.” I’m not going to do that. I’m a perfectionist and I can’t do that. I want to obviously go out there playing my best at all times until I can’t. That’s why this is the farewell tour."

Asked if he hopes to extend the tour into Europe, Frampton said: “We might be able to do the same thing on a limited basis in Europe in the spring of the following year, but I don’t know that yet.

“I’m going to be playing as long as I can play, but this will be the last extended tour. I can’t say what I’ll be doing next year.”

Frampton added that he's being treated experimentally Johns Hopkins University, saying: “Maybe if the drug trial works, there’ll be the miracle tour. I wish, but I’m realistic, too, so that’s why … this really is the farewell tour.”

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