It seems that divorcing Avril Lavigne wasn’t rock bottom for Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley. The Canadian rocker updated his website on Friday to announce that he’d just spent a month in the hospital for severe organ damage due to years of heavy drinking. After he collapsed in his home while pouring himself what (unbeknownst to him) would be his last drink, Whibley’s fiancée rushed him to the hospital, where he spent a week completely sedated and hooked up to IVs. Upon awaking, the 34-year-old learned that his liver and kidneys had “collapsed” on him and that one more drink could kill him.
The Power of Honesty
Apostrophe abuse notwithstanding, Whibley’s post deserves props for its earnestness as he urged his fans to drink responsibly. And if his frank admission of his illness wasn’t enough, he topped it off with gruesome snapshots from the ICU. While the cynical commenter brigade may dismiss Whibley’s announcement as attention-seeking, addicts know just how much courage such brutal honesty takes.
Musicians, who so often fall prey to addiction, are perennially blamed for glamorizing it. By presenting himself in such a vulnerable light, Whibley is not only being brave, he’s doing right by his fans. There’s nothing glamorous or cool or even “punk” about those images. They’re truly the stuff of health-class scare tactics. In the harsh hospital light, his arm riddled with puncture marks (mostly—presumably—from IVs), Whibley doesn’t look badass, he looks sick. Even upon discharge from the hospital, he was a far cry from the picture of health. Maybe he should’ve kept the beard.
Gifts of Sobriety?
Whibley ended his blog post on a positive note, stating that his passion for songwriting had returned. Sum 41, which broke onto the scene with 2001’s punk-pop anthem “Fat Lip,” hasn’t released an album since 2011. Will the band have a Blink-style comeback in the wake of Whibley’s new lease on life? It remains to be seen. Here’s hoping he takes care of himself and won’t become another casualty of society—or the bottle