Deryck Whibley Opens Up About Near-Death Experience, Alcoholism: “Doctors Said I Was Lucky to Be Alive”

Deryck Whibley
Sum 41 rocker Deryck Whibley opened up to Vice's music channel Noisey about his alcoholism and near-death experience, saying he's now "in the best shape of his life"  Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Deryck Whibley got a second chance at life — and he doesn't intend to waste it. Nearly a year after he landed in the hospital with severe liver and kidney problems brought on by years of "hard boozing," the Sum 41 rocker, now 35, opened up to Vice's music channel Noisey about his alcoholism and subsequent near-death experience, saying he can't wait to get back on his feet — and on a stage.

"I'm glad it happened now and not when I'm like, 50, because my body wouldn't have been able to handle it…However, now I'm feeling better than I've ever felt," he told the site. "I'm healthier. I'm in the best shape of my life."

Eleven months ago, though, he was in the worst shape of his life. As Whibley himself revealed on his website last May, his "liver and kidneys collapsed," and he had to be sedated for a full week in intensive care.

"The doctors said I was lucky to be alive and that there was still a chance I could die," Avril Lavigne's ex recalled of his hospitalization, which preceded months of further complications and recovery. (He told Vice he still has trouble walking and spends "80 percent" of his day in physical therapy.)

"I do look back and think about how much worse it could have been," he told interviewer Adria Young. "I could have had way more health problems than I had, but my liver is fine! Everything shut down before any more damage could happen. To walk out of there alive, without cirrhosis or needing transplants, you know, it could have been worse."

Whibley's problems with alcohol began at a young age. He was just a teen when he formed Sum 41 in the mid 1990s, and 21 when the band hit it big in 2001, and drinking was a way to cope with his sudden success and nonstop schedule.

"I drank to wake me up and get that fake energy," he explained to Vice. "There were a lot of times I didn't even want to drink, but I was so tired that shots of Jack were all I could do to get onstage."

These days, drinking is the last thing he wants to do. His focus now is on music: Sum 41 is already well into recording their sixth studio album, and Whibley is eager to hit the road again on tour — this time sober. 

"If I literally hadn't done it to death, I might feel like I'll be missing something, but I'm not missing anything," he shared of drinking. "I'm done with it." 

Read Whibley's full interview on Noisey.

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