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Thursday, June 30th 2005

2:43 PM


Hull-born entertainer Joe Longthorne will undergo a bone marrow transplant today as he battles leukaemia.

Joe, 50, has stopped smoking as he prepares for the life-saving surgery.

HULL singing sensation Joe Longthorne has managed to stop smoking as he prepares for a bone marrow transplant today.

The international star, who is battling leukaemia, has not had a cigarette since he was admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary last week.

Today, the 50-year-old will be taken to theatre in a bid to end his 17 years of hell after being diagnosed with cancer.

He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1988.

He was given the all-clear in 1997 but, in June 2003, he revealed it had returned, mutating into an aggressive form of leukaemia.

Tour manager Jeb White said Joe was in good spirits as he prepared for the operation.

He said: "More good news is Joe has not had a cigarette for nearly a week.

"He was offered nicotine patches but elected to stop with willpower alone."

Joe was due to undergo the transplant today after a 28-year-old woman from south Wales was found to be a perfect bone marrow match.

The operations are expected to take place in different hospitals to protect the woman's identity and the healthy bone marrow will be injected into Joe in a bid to cure the cancer.

The star, who was born off Hessle Road and has gained an army of fans with his renditions of songs by Frank Sinatra and Shirley Bassey, has been given chemotherapy to remove all traces of his own bone marrow in preparation for the operation.

He has also been given high-calorie drink supplements to keep up his strength.

Although the chemotherapy has left him tired, he managed to read hundreds of messages sent by fans after a computer was linked up to his bedside.


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