Just one day after Peter Frampton announced he’s embarking on tour, the legendary musician announced it will his farewell tour because he’s suffering from a rare degenerative muscular disease.
The 68-year-old told “CBS This Morning: Saturday” he was first diagnosed with inclusion-body myositis (IBM) nearly four years ago after a fall onstage.
According to Rolling Stone, Frampton first noticed his ankles were feeling tight in the morning but dismissed it as so-called aches that come with getting older. Then his legs began to feel weak. However, Frampton realized something was truly wrong when he fell over while trying to kick a beach ball back to a fan.
Two weeks later, he tripped over a guitar cord on stage and collapsed again. His arms were getting so weak that lifting heavy objects onto the overhead compartments of planes was becoming difficult. Embarrassed and frustrated, Frampton saw a neurologist and received the shocking news.
“I’m thinking of all the times in my life that I have something devastating [that] that’s happened to my career or in my family or me,” he told the morning show. “I’ve brushed myself off, got myself up and changed directions.”
Frampton said he knew the disease had progressed late last year while on vacation with his daughter in Maui.
“I fell on a boat,” he recalled. “And it was a pretty bad fall.”
It was at that moment when the beloved guitarist realized it was time to leave the road.
“I’m able to play great right now,” he explained. “In a year’s time, maybe not so good. I’m a perfectionist, and I do not want to go out there and fell like ‘Oh I can’t’ or ‘This isn’t good.’ That would be a nightmare for me.”
Frampton said the idea of struggling to play guitar on stage in front of his fans breaks his heart.
“It’s my passion,” he explained. “I’ve been playing guitar for 60 years. Started when I was 8. Now I’m 68. So I’ve had a very good run.”
According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, IBM is a “progressive muscle disorder characterized by muscle inflammation, weakness and atrophy.” The disease typically develops in individuals after age 50, and the older one is, the more rapidly their symptoms progress. There is currently no cure.
Frampton said “going upstairs and downstairs is the hardest thing for me” and he also “can’t put things up over my head.” He also shared that with time, IBM will likely impact his finger flexors, which will get in the way of playing guitar.
Despite the diagnosis, Frampton is determined to make his final tour extra special. One dollar from every ticket sold for the tour will go toward the research fund he created with Johns Hopkins University in hopes of finding a cure.
“If this is the farewell tour, then maybe if the drug trial works, there’ll be the miracle tour,” he said. “I wish but I’m realistic too.”
Frampton admitted to Rolling Stone that the announcement of his tour is bittersweet.
“I don’t want to stop playing,” he said. “That’s the last thing I want to stop doing. I’m going to be playing as long as I can play, but this will be the last extended tour. I can’t say what I’ll be doing next year.”
Still, Frampton is finding other ways to pursue his passion while he still can. According to the magazine, he is currently working on three projects. In addition, Frampton exercises daily to help strengthen his muscles.
“I inherited this incredible team of doctors who are so passionate about what they do that it’s ridiculous,” Frampton explained. “… There’s no specific treatment for IBM. They have traditional medicine that is working. They are coming out with some drug trials. I’m hoping to be involved with those. That is something that is in the future. Right now, the only thing that works for me is exercise. I work out like a maniac all the time. It’s strengthening the muscles that I have. It seems to be the best possible thing for IBM is to workout every day.”
The “Baby, I Love Your Way” hitmaker also shared how he will feel when the time comes to wrap up his tour.
“I’ve thought about that, but I know that all my kids will be there. My ex-wives will be there,” he joked. “I hope not. No, they probably will. It’s going to be a part and a celebration of what’s going to come. We’re going to celebrate. We’re not going to look backward. We’re going to go forward. I know I’ve got so much more to do. It will be an emotional evening, obviously. I have such a great support group. My kids. My ex-wives [laughs] I’m very lucky.”
The “Peter Frampton Finale Tour” kicks off June 18 and will continue until October.