Duran Duran’s original guitarist Andy Taylor has been diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer, the band has revealed while being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which Taylor had to miss due to ongoing treatment.
The renowned British new wave group revealed Taylor had been diagnosed four years ago while reading a letter from him to the audience at the Hall of Fame ceremony at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Taylor had been due to reunite with his former bandmates – singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor – but they said he had suffered a setback that would not allow him to travel from his home in Los Angeles Ibiza.
The ceremony was set to be the first time the five-piece band from Birmingham had played together in 17 years, having last reformed for a world tour and the Astronaut album in 2004.
The group were the first act inducted during Saturday’s ceremony and took the stage by performing their 1981 breakthrough hit Girls On Film. They continued with a set that included Hungry Like the Wolf and Ordinary World before addressing Taylor’s absence by reading the letter.
Taylor wrote: “Just over four years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. Many families have experienced the slow burn of this disease and of course we are no different; so I speak from the perspective of a family man but with profound humility to the band, the greatest fans a group could have and this exceptional accolade.
“I have the ‘Rodgers and Edwards’ of doctors and medical treatment that until very recently allowed me to just rock on. Although my current condition is not immediately life-threatening there is no cure.”
Rodgers and Edwards refers to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, the pop producers and founders of Chic, who worked with Duran Duran throughout their career.
“Recently I was doing OK after some very sophisticated life-extending treatment, that was until a week or so ago when I suffered a setback, and despite the exceptional efforts of my team, I had to be honest in that both physically and mentally, I would be pushing my boundaries,” Taylor continued.
“However, none of this needs to or should detract from what this band (with or without me) has achieved and sustained for 44 years.”
Taylor added that he was “truly sorry and massively disappointed” he could not attend the ceremony, noting he had even bought a new guitar for the occasion, but that he was “very proud of these four brothers” and “overjoyed” they were accepting this award.
“I often doubted the day would come. I’m sure as hell glad I’m around to see the day,” he added.
Also inducted during the ceremony were Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, Eminem, Carly Simon, Eurythmics, Harry Belafonte, Judas Priest and Dolly Parton.
Duran Duran formed in Birmingham in 1978 and were one of the biggest acts of the 1980s, with hits including Rio, Wild Boys and Bond theme A View to a Kill. The three Taylors are not related.
The group has risen to prominence again recently, releasing their 15th studio album, Future Past, last year and undertaking a 40th anniversary celebration tour, including headlining the British Summer Time festival in London’s Hyde Park this year.
They also performed at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace and starred in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham.
A documentary film, A Hollywood High, about their recent rooftop concert in Los Angeles at The Aster hotel was released this week. The project also features interviews and archive footage that tells the story of the band’s special relationship with the US city.