PARIS — French rock legend Johnny Hallyday had a botched operation in France and is now in a medically induced coma in a Los Angeles hospital as he recovers from surgery to fix the damage, his producer said.
Hallyday, 66, is expected to recover, producer Jean-Claude Camus said.
Hallyday is France’s biggest rock star, though little known outside of Europe. Beyond his music, Belgian-born Hallyday — whose real name is Jean-Philippe Smet — is best known for his glitz, amorous affairs, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and a Frenchness as absolute as Elvis Presley’s Americanness.
Hallyday had an operation overnight Wednesday to Thursday at L.A.’s Cedars Sinai hospital to fix lingering back trouble from a Nov. 26 operation in Paris for a herniated disc.
“After (he) had woken up, the doctors preferred putting him in an artificial coma to prevent him from suffering and getting tired, and thus to make the treatment easier,” Hallyday’s Web site said.
French daily Le Figaro reported that Hallyday’s doctors plan to pull him out of the coma early next week.
Hallyday’s press representatives said that lesions from the initial operation required more surgery, and that he had also suffered an infection following the first operation.
“The news is very positive, he’s very strong,” said the rocker’s son David Hallyday, himself a singer.
Camus, said the American medical team treating Hallyday said the rocker had suffered ill-effects from the operation in France, and that infection “was attacking his bone marrow.”
“If what I’m being told in the United States is true, this operation was a massacre,” he said. “It seems the Americans fixed things that they found that were very badly done.”
The French doctor through a statement from his lawyer Friday, said he was “outraged” by such allegations and insisted that his surgery had “taken place perfectly.”
Hallyday had been on a multi-city tour in France called “Route 66,” a reference to his age and a homage to the American rock that has inspired his music. The tour is billed as his last.
Hallyday has had a series of health problems this year, and had a cancerous polyp removed from his colon.