Bono Opens Up About the Health Scare That Was a ‘Major Brush with Mortality’

U2’s Bono is such an energetic force, one would think there’s no stopping the Irish rock band’s frontman. He’s been lead singer of U2 since 1976, playing a major role in the band’s staying power. The band has produced significant hit songs including Sunday Bloody Sunday, With or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and Pride (In The Name of Love).

Bono | Jo Hale/Redferns

He opened up about a brush with death that shook him to his core. Find out what happened and how the

U2 seems to be working on a new album

“I spoke to [U2] just last week,” One Republic lead singer, songwriter, and producer Ryan Tedder told Rockol last month. He told the outlet the band had contacted him for his help on some songs they are working on for a new album.

“We will work together on some new pieces when I am in Los Angeles.”

“I think it’s their intention to make a record completely different from the last two,” Tedder continued. “You know, it’s like a pendulum. When you make a very produced album, with so many instruments in it, the next project you want it more sparse and you wonder: what if the disc had the sound of four musicians playing in a room?”

The bike accident that almost undid Bono

The singer was involved in a bike wreck in 2014 in New York City’s Central Park. In an effort to avoid another bicyclist, the Irish rocker had what the hospital at the time referred to as a “high energy bicycle accident.” Bono was rushed to an NYC hospital emergency room and underwent “multiple X-rays and CAT scans” followed by five hours of surgery. 

The singer suffered numerous serious injuries, including a facial fracture involving the orbit of his eye, three separate fractures of his left shoulder blade, and a fracture of his left humerus bone, which stuck out of his upper arm.

“Recovery has been more difficult than I thought,” Bono said on the band’s website. “As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again. The band have reminded me that neither they nor Western civilization are depending on this.”

“I personally would very much miss fingering the frets of my green Irish falcon or my (red) Gretsch. Just for the pleasure, aside from writing tunes. But then does the Edge, or Jimmy Page, or any guitarist you know have a titanium elbow, as I do now? I’m all elbows, I am.”

The singer fully recovered from the accident only to endure a worse, according to him, life-threatening event.

Bono’s near-‘extinction event’

In 2017, when Bono spoke with Rolling Stone about the health scare he’d gone through, it seemed he still found it overwhelming to talk about his “major brush with mortality,” as the singer called it. He wasn’t willing to discuss exactly what happened, only to confirm that it seemed to be quite a frightening health or medical scare.

“It’s just a thing that . . . people have these extinction events in their lives; it could be psychological or it could be physical. And, yes, it was physical for me, but I think I have spared myself all that soap opera.”

The singer admitted he had been checked at some point recently for throat cancer but was fine. “One of the specialists wanted to biopsy, which would have risked my vocal cords – and it turned out OK.”

“I’ve had a couple of these shocks to the system, let’s call them, in my life. Like my bike accident or my back injury. So it was always going to be the subject. I just didn’t want to be such an expert in it…I felt very alone and very frightened and not able to speak and not able to even explain my fear because I was kind of . . .suffocated.”

Whatever it was Bono endured, his fans are grateful he survived it and hope he continues to survive and thrive.

Read more: The Greatest Bands and Musicians of the 1970s