Monty Python star Eric Idle said he feels 'lucky' after surviving pancreatic cancer

Eric Idle (Credit: AP)
Eric Idle beat pancreatic cancer. (AP)

Monty Python star Eric Idle has revealed he survived pancreatic cancer.

The comedian, 79, was diagnosed with the illness – which has a low survival rate – around three years ago.

But he said he was "incredibly lucky" because it was caught so early.

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Idle told Time: "About three years ago I was incredibly lucky: I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Lucky? One of the most lethal forms of cancer, how on earth was that lucky? Well, because it was found incredibly early. No, not before lunchtime, but before it had gone anywhere."

The star had the tumour removed and no further trace of the disease was found.

(left to right) Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones from Monty Python at a photocall before their series of live dates which start at the O2 Arena.
Eric Idle with Monty Python co-stars John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones. (PA)

Idle told the publication that he broke down in tears after realising that he "had been a dead man walking" but was going to live.

The star went on to appear in The Masked Singer in the US and has shared that beating cancer was one of the things that inspired him to sign up.

He told Entertainment Weekly he thought it would be "fun".

Eric Idle seen on the first day of rehearsals in London, for their new show Monty Python Live (mostly) which is on at the O2 Arena in London on July 1-5, 15, 16, 18-20.
Eric Idle said he feels lucky. (PA)

"And then I had a sort of secondary reason, which I kept secret until afterwards, which was that I have been very lucky to have survived pancreatic cancer," he said.

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Idle, who was the character Hedgehog on the show, went on :"And I thought to myself, well, you better see if you can still do it, if you can still sing and dance. If you can actually go in front of a large audience and do something daft in costume."

He said that ended up being what motivated him to take part.

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