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Bruce Springsteen Thought He Wasn’t Ever ‘Gonna Sing Again’ After Peptic Ulcer Disease Diagnosis

Bruce Springsteen Worried He Wasn’t Ever ‘Gonna Sing Again’ After Peptic Ulcer Disease Diagnosis
Bruce Springsteen. Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science

“The Boss” was almost forced into retirement.

Bruce Springsteen returned to the stage earlier this month to perform at Phoenix, AZ’s Footprint Center after taking six months off to deal with his peptic ulcer disease. Springsteen, 74, told SiriusXM’s E Street Radio host Jim Rotolo that the comeback almost didn’t happen as the disease robbed him of his voice, and there was a moment he thought he would never sing again.

“You sing with your diaphragm,” explained Springsteen. “My diaphragm was hurting so badly that when I went to make the effort to sing, it was killing me, you know? So, I literally couldn’t sing at all, you know, and that lasted for two or three months, along with just a myriad of other painful problems.”

Springsteen said that during the recovery, the medical team assured him that the pain was temporary. “[They said] ‘You’re gonna be okay.’ You know, you’re thinking like, ‘Hey, am I gonna sing again?’ and you know, this is one of the things I love to do the best, the most, and right now I can’t do it,” said Springsteen. “You know, I can’t do it, and it took a while for the doctors to say, ‘Oh no. You’re gonna be OK.’ At first, nobody was quite saying that, which made me nervous.”

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“At the end of the day,” added the rock icon, “I found some great doctors, and they straightened me out, and I can’t do anything but thank them all.”

Bruce Springsteen Worried He Wasn’t Ever ‘Gonna Sing Again’ After Peptic Ulcer Disease Diagnosis
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Springsteen announced in September 2023 that he was postponing all his remaining dates for the rest of the year due to the peptic ulcer disease diagnosis. Despite “recover[ing] steadily,” his statement said that he had to pause from performing to “continue treatment” on his doctor’s advice. “Thanks to all my friends and fans for your good wishes, encouragement, and support. I’m on the mend and can’t wait to see you all next year,” added Springsteen in the announcement.

A week before Springsteen and the E Street Band resumed their tour with the Phoenix show, Springsteen made a surprise appearance at John Mellencamp’s show in Newark, New Jersey. Springsteen joined Mellencamp, 72, for a performance of “Pink Houses,” enthusiastically singing the line about taking a “vacation down in the Gulf of Mexico,” much to the fans’ delight.

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Springsteen’s U.S. tour continues through April before he travels overseas for a run of European dates. The “Born in the USA” singer returns to the States in August for a series of shows on the East Coast and in Canada.

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