Bob Dylan was hospitalized on May 25, 1997 seriously ill with histoplasmosis, a potential life threatening fungal infection that causes swelling of the sac surrounding the heart. Histoplasmosis is caused by the fungus histoplasma capsulatum. Dylan was treated with antibiotics, and his condition was not considered life threatening. Doctors said his condition was made more severe by a delay in diagnosis
He was released from a Los Angeles hospital over the weekend of May 31-June 1. Dylan was quoted as saying, "I'm just glad to be feeling better. I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon."
According to the Merck Manual, a standard medical reference book, histoplasmosis is fatal "only in rare cases with massive infection."
A brief Q & A on histoplasmosis is found on the National Center for Infectious Diseases Website. The University of Vanderbilt School of Medicine provides technically detailed information. An Ohio State tight end had open heart surgery as a result of histoplasmosis and was back on the football field in a year. Of course most patients do not require surgery, most are treated with antifungal drugs.
The National Public Radio Website has an All Things Considered Report (May 29, 1997) on histoplasmosis. It requires a RealAudio player.
The June 1997 UK/Ireland and Swiss tours were cancelled. Dylan recovered and resumed performing with a U.S. tour in August 1997. In an August 26th interview with Edna Gundersen, his first following the hospitalization, Dylan said:
I'm doing as good as I can under the circumstances. I'm still taking medication three times a day. Sometimes it makes me a little light-headed and dizzy. And I need to sleep a lot. I did get the doctor's OK to do this tour. I guess I'll make it through.
I wanted to do these shows because I'd committed to it. I don't have the energy I usually have, so I have to save it all to perform. Outside of that, I'm doing as well as I can.
On the Web is Greil Marcus' aptly titled piece Bob Dylan's Heart from his Days Between Stations column.
Various news reports used in preparing the foregoing summary follow below.
Last revised: August 31, 1997
From: email@example.com (SamAButler)
Subject: histoplasmosis in song!
Date: 30 Jul 1997 00:21:01 GMT
Perhaps this was mentioned, appreciated and discarded months ago, when it was more relevant. If so, I apologize. Just heard a Johnny Cash song today called "Beans for Breakfast." I was surprised to find:
Caught a cold with the window open
Crow droppings on my window sill
Prob'bly got histoplasmosis
If I had a gun I would kill (those crows)
Beans for breakfast once again.
Any other references out there? It's rather a hard word to work in, what with metrical considerations and all. . . .
DYLAN SAYS HE'LL ANSWER POPE'S CALL
By Edna Gundersen
Bob Dylan was as surprised as his fans were Tuesday to hear he'd be performing for the pope next month.
"The pope, huh? I guess if the Vatican is reporting it, it must be happening," Dylan told USA TODAY in his first interview since contracting a rare heart infection in May. "I'm not sure it's going to happen. I know I was the only American they asked outside of Joni Mitchell."
Dylan is scheduled to perfom for Pope John Paul II Sept. 27 at the World Eucharistic Congress in Bologna, the Vatican announced Tuesday.
Once he confirms that appearance, Dylan says he'll also try to reschedule London dates that were cancelled when his health crisis forced him to pull out of a European tour.
Dylan entered a hospital with chest pains May 25 and was diagnosed with pericarditis, a swelling of the heart sac, brought on by a fungal infection call histoplasmosis.
"I'm doing as good as I can under the circumstances," he said via phone from a tour stop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. "I'm still taking medication three times a day. Sometimes it makes me a little light-headed and dizzy. And I need to sleep a lot. I did get the doctor's OK to do this tour. I guess I'll make it through."
He plays tonight in Indianapolis, Thursday in Tinley Park, Ill.; Friday in St. Paul, Minn.,and ends the month-long tour Sunday in Kansas City, Mo.
"I wanted to do these shows because I'd committed to it," Dylan said. "I don't have the energy I usually have, so I have to save it all to perform. Outside of that, I'm doing as well as I can."
Fans panicked at the news that Dylan, 56, was suffering from a potentially fatal heart disease. In his only statement to the press, he joked, "I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon."
Now he reveals, "I was off my feet for six weeks. I was unable to walk around. When I got out of the hospital, I could hardly walk around my yard. I had to stay in bed and sleep all the time. I guess it's a slow process of recuperation."
The infection might have been less serious had it attacked an organ besides the heart. "If it had affected the stomach, it might have left sooner," he says. "But in the heart, there's no way to flush that out. It leaves on its own."
He was stricken while completing a new album, Time Out of Mind, due Sept. 30.
"Up until I was sick, I was putting songs on, taking songs off," he says. "I didn't know what picture it was forming. When I got sick I had to let it all go. I spent a lot of time making it, but I haven't really heard it in a few months."
Sony Music Press Release
June 2, 1997
Bob Dylan Released From Hospital
Treatment Continues and Full Recovery Expected
Bob Dylan was released from the hospital this weekend where he had been undergoing medical tests and subsequent treatment for pericarditis brought on by histoplasmosis. He was admitted on May 25. Doctors are continuing to treat him and are confident that Mr. Dylan will make a full recovery in four to six weeks.
When asked about his plans for his recovery period, Mr. Dylan said, "I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm just glad to be feeling better. I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon."
While it is unknown exactly how Mr. Dylan contracted histoplasmosis, the fungal condition which resulted in his illness, doctors believe that the severity of his condition was due to the length of time between the onset of symptoms and the eventual diagnosis.
Mr. Dylan was forced to cancel a European concert tour that was to begin June 1 in Cork, Ireland. He plans to fulfill his U.S. concert schedule, and has recently completed work on a new album that will be released later this year.
By: Derek Barker
May 30, 1997
Curtesy of Giulio Molfese's Bread Crumb Sins
Bob Dylan was admitted to hospital on Monday 26 May complaining of chest pains. Bob is said to be in a New York Hospital under a pseudonym, though when I spoke with a close friend of the family I was told that Bob was not in New York. He has been diagnosed has having contracted Histoplasmosis, which is a fungal infection very occasionally the infection is transmitted through undercooked meats such as lamb or beef, But more commonly is transmitted by in inhalation of fungal spores which grow in soil contaminated by certain bird and bat droppings. The organism is quite rare in Europe but is not uncommon in the United States being most often found along the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, though it is also often found in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. Dylan could have been in contact with these fungal spores anywhere in the world, but it has been noted that he has recently played shows in Muncie, Indiana on April 29, in Evansville, Indiana on May 1st, and in Tennessee on May 2nd.
It is said that over 80% of the population of these areas come into contact with these fungal spores at one time or another, but suffer no ill effect from this contact. Of the very small number of people that do become ill through the Inhalation of spores most suffer respiratory infection and in about 6% of cases - Dylan being one such case - it causes inflammation and swelling of the pericardium the membrane or sac which surrounds the heart, giving similar symptoms to pneumonia or TB. While the condition is potentially fatal, if recognised in the early stages it can be treated simply by the use of anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic drugs. In rare cases where drugs fail to clear the problem surgery is required. Dylan is said to be responding to drugs and at this point surgery is not under consideration.
Dylan's infection has been recognised very early and should clear-up leaving no permanent damage. It should be stressed that the condition does not effect the heart itself, and contrary to reports in the Irish press Bob Dylan has not suffered a heart attack.
Jakob Dylan's publicist says that Jakob who is currently on tour with his band the Wallflowers, is not expected to interrupt his European tour to be with his father. At the moment there are no planes to cancel Bob's August US tour.
Columbia is keeping an August tour of the U.S. on the calendar, and are quoted as saying 'we are optimistic we will be able to fulfill those touring commitments'.
May 29, 1997
NEW YORK (Reuter) - Rock legend Bob Dylan is hospitalized under an assumed name for treatment of an infection producing swelling around his heart, but his life was not considered in danger, a source close to Dylan's family said Thursday.
The source, who asked not to be identified, declined to disclose the location of the hospital other than to say it is not in New York, as some media have reported.
Dylan, 56, called off a European tour Wednesday after he was admitted to a hospital over the weekend "suffering from severe chest pains," his publicists in London said.
"His condition has been diagnosed as histoplasmosis, a potentially fatal infection which creates swelling in the sac which surrounds the heart," Dylan's London publicists said.
The source said Dylan was being treated with antibiotics, and his condition was not considered life-threatening. The source declined to elaborate.
Dylan's New York publicists said they hoped he would be well enough to go through with a U.S. tour slated for August.
He was due to perform in Ireland, Britain and Switzerland during the summer tour. Van Morrison, who was to appear with him in London June 7, said he would still perform.
Dylan recently completed a swing through Canada and the Northeast and last appeared in Los Angeles this month.
He released his first album in 1962 and is considered the most influential songwriter of his generation, with such classics as "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Tangled Up in Blue," and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35."
Dr. David Pegues, an infectious disease expert at UCLA Medical Center, said histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus that is extremely common in certain parts of the United States.
"It's not unusual," he told Reuters. "If untreated, sure it could kill him ... but it's an eminently treatable and curable illness, and I'm sure Mr. Dylan has the best medical supervision."
He said patients normally can be expected to be out of commission for a few weeks at least.
NY Times - May 29, 1997
Bob Dylan Hospitalized With Chest Pains
By BRUCE WEBER
NEW YORK -- Bob Dylan, whose bittersweet love songs and politically tinged folk anthems made him an emblem of the 1960s counterculture, canceled a European concert tour Wednesday, having checked into a hospital over the weekend suffering from chest pains.
According to a statement released Wednesday by an unnamed representative of Dylan's in England and made available to American news organizations by his record company, Columbia Records, the singer's condition was diagnosed as histoplasmosis. The statement said the condition was a potentially fatal infection that "creates a swelling of the sack which surrounds the heart."
However, according to the Merck Manual, a standard medical reference book, histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that may cause acute pneumonia, but it is fatal "only in rare cases with massive infection."
Dylan, whose well-known songs include "Like a Rolling Stone," "The Times They Are A-Changin' " and "Just Like a Woman," turned 56 on Saturday. He was not available for comment Wednesday, and his whereabouts were not known.
The Bloomberg News Service reported that Dylan was in a New York City hospital, but officials at two dozen local hospitals -- including Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York University Medical Center and New York Hospital -- all said Dylan had not been admitted.
Dylan's manager, Jeff Kramer, and his partner in four music publishing companies, Jeff Rosen, referred questions about Dylan to Columbia Records. Larry Jenkins, a spokesman for Columbia, said he did not know where Dylan was.
The singer's European tour was to have begun in Cork, Ireland, on June 1, and was to have included performances in England, Scotland and Switzerland. An American tour is scheduled for later this summer, and the statement issued by Columbia said "we are optimistic that we will be able to fulfill those touring commitments."
Dylan is scheduled to perform at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., on Aug. 15, and at Jones Beach on Aug. 17. Ron Delsener, the concert promoter who is putting on those shows, said Wednesday: "The little I know is, he has some sort of bug. I called his management, and they said he's fine. He'll be playing, working his dates."
Bob Dylan Hospitalized
by Marcus Errico
May 28, 1997, 12:30 p.m. PT
Rock deity Bob Dylan has been hospitalized with a potentially fatal chest infection, his record company said today.
In a three-paragraph statement, Columbia Records said the singer-songwriter, who celebrated his 56th birthday Saturday, entered an undisclosed hospital sometime this weekend after "suffering from severe chest pains."
According to the statement, Dylan has been diagnosed with histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that causes swelling of the sac surrounding the heart.
"It is treatable," said Dr. David Pegues, an infectious disease specialist at UCLA Medical Center. Pegues said that histoplasmosis--which is contracted when a victim inhales a certain fungus found in nitrogen-rich soil--usually requires no treatment, but in about 10 percent of cases hospitalization is required.
Depending on the severity of the infection, treatment can range from taking oral anti-fungal drugs for several weeks to months of intravenous medication in the worst cases. Quick diagnosis and care, Pegues noted, can prevent the infection from affecting other internal organs like the liver and spleen and reduce the possibility of death.
Columbia did not specify Dylan's current condition but said he was "undergoing treatment and will remain hospitalized in the care of his physicians until such time as they feel confident that his condition has improved." At that time, Dylan will require "a period of recuperation," the statement noted.
That means Dylan must cancel an upcoming tour of Ireland, Britain and Switzerland. However, a Columbia spokesman said he hoped Dylan would recover in time for an August swing through the States.
Van Morrison, who was to appear with Dylan on the London leg June 7, said he would still perform.
With the exception of his debilitating motorcycle crash in 1966--which laid him up for months--the fiercely private Dylan has never let the press know too much about his physical health.
Meanwhile, Dylan is said to have finished recording a new album, the follow-up to 1995's Unplugged and the first collection of new tunes since 1993's World Gone Wrong. But no release date has been set.
LONDON (Reuter) - American rock star Bob Dylan called off a European tour after being admitted to a hospital suffering from a potentially life-threatening disease, his publicists said Wednesday.
Media reports here said the 56-year-old singer/songwriter was hospitalized in New York but a spokeswoman for Dylan in New York said her office did not know where he was being treated or what his condition was.
"This past weekend, Bob Dylan was admitted to hospital suffering from severe chest pains. His condition has been diagnosed as histoplasmosis, a potentially fatal infection which creates swelling in the sac which surrounds the heart," Dylan's London publicists said.
Dylan will remain in the hospital until his doctors are confident his condition has improved, they added.
In New York, his publicists said they hoped he would be well enough to go through with a U.S. tour slated for August.
The singer was due to perform in Ireland, Britain and Switzerland during the summer tour. Van Morrison, who was to appear with him in London June 7, said he would still perform.
Dylan recently completed a swing through Canada and the Northeast and last appeared in Los Angeles this month.
He released his first album in 1962 and is considered the most influential songwriter of his generation, with such classics as "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin," "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Like a Rolling Stone," and "Tangled Up in Blue."
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Singer Bob Dylan is hospitalized with a "potentially fatal infection" involving his heart, according to a statement from his record label.
Dylan, who turned 56 on Saturday, was admitted over the weekend with severe chest pains, the Columbia Records statement said Wednesday.
He was diagnosed with histoplasmosis, which causes swelling of the sac that surrounds the heart, the statement said. Columbia did not say where Dylan was hospitalized, though sources told CNN it was in New York.
Dylan was "undergoing treatment and will remain hospitalized in the care of his physicians until such time as they feel confident that his condition has improved," Columbia Records said. A period of recuperation would also be involved.
The infection forced the legendary performer to cancel a European tour.
Bob Dylan Hospitalized
By The Associated Press
Filed at 3:17 p.m. EDT, May 28, 1997
NEW YORK (AP) -- Bob Dylan was hospitalized with a potentially fatal heart infection that forced him to cancel a European tour, the singer's record label said Wednesday.
Dylan, who turned 56 on Saturday, was admitted to a hospital over the weekend with severe chest pains, Columbia Records said in a statement.
The statement indicated the ailment was histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that caused swelling of the sac surrounding the heart.
It did not sat where Dylan was hospitalized or disclose his condition, and spokesmen for Dylan and his record label would not elaborate.
Dylan was "undergoing treatment and will remain hospitalized in the care of his physicians until such time as they feel confident that his condition has improved," Columbia Records said.