Exact wording of the news story published in The Mail on Sunday - on Sunday July 22nd 2001
FORMER Beatle George Harrison has admitted that he expects to die soon from cancer.
The 58-year-old has been treated for a brain tumour at a clinic in Switzerland, having already undergone an operation for lung cancer earlier this year.
Harrison made the emotional confession that he does not have long to live to close friend and former Beatles producer Sir George Martin.
Sir George told The Mail on Sunday: 'He is taking it easy and hoping that the thing will go away. He has an indomitable spirit but he knows that he is going to die soon and he is accepting that.' Harrison received cobalt ray treatment from Switzerland's leading cancer specialists at the Sainta Giovanni Hospital in Bellinzona after it was discovered that he was suffering from brain cancer last month.
At the time, the star put on a brave face, telling fans: 'I am feeling fine. God bless, and not to worry.' But Sir George, dubbed the Fifth Beatle, revealed Harrison is now facing up to the prospect of death.
'George is very philosophical. He does realise that everybody has got to die sometime,' said Sir George. 'He has been near death many times and he's been rescued many times as well. But he knows that he is going to die soon and he's accepting it perfectly happily.'
The latest tumour is the musician's third bout of cancer. When he discovered a lump on his neck in 1997, the cancerous growth was removed and Harrison underwent two courses of radiotherapy.
'I got it purely from smoking,' he confessed at the time. 'Luckily, they found that this nodule was more of a warning than anything else. I'm not going to die on you folks just yet.
'Life is like a raindrop on a lotus leaf,' he added. 'Everybody realises that you are either a very lucky person or you're not.' The former Beatle visited the Mayo Clinic in America for annual check-ups.
But his worst fears that the cancer might return were eventually confirmed when in March this year it was discovered that Harrison had lung cancer. He underwent surgery, with sources claiming that he lost half a lung in the operation.
Harrison and his second wife, Olivia, went to Tuscany to convalesce. But the new brain tumour was diagnosed and the latest treatment completed in June.
Doctors at the clinic admitted that although Harrison has been discharged, he has not fully recovered.
Professor Franco Cavalli, Switzerland's top cancer expert who treated George, said: 'He has not recovered but he is not a patient any more.'
Harrison is believed to have hired a villa in a small town on the Italian border so that he is close to the hospital if he requires further treatment.
According to experts, the long-term prognosis for Harrison is not good.
Malignant brain tumours are more likely to be fatal if the patient has suffered a secondary tumour to lung cancer, as is the case with Harrison.
Many patients only live for five months, even after the tumour has been treated.
Cancer is not the star's only brush with death. Two years ago, he was nearly killed when a crazed fan broke into his Oxfordshire home and stabbed him repeatedly with a knife.
He and his wife were asleep at their 120-room house in Henley-on-Thames when former heroin addict Mick Abram attacked them. George was stabbed ten times but Olivia saved her husband's life by fighting off the attacker with a brass poker.