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Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Describes ‘Frightening’ Illness That Forced Show Cancellations as ‘Near-Death Experience’

After Pearl Jam were forced to cancel shows in Berlin and London last week due to an unspecified illness affecting band members, singer Eddie Vedder opened up about what he described as a “near-death experience” during their return to stage in Barcelona over the weekend.

In video posted by fans, Vedder, 59, talked about the scary situation without revealing specific details of what the ailment was. “Can I just say that last week almost felt like a near-death experience?,” Vedder said during the show at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. “It was very uncomfortable, and it got frightening. It felt like chest bronchitis. It felt like maybe you couldn’t breathe, and maybe you wouldn’t make it through the night, and maybe you’d have to go to the hospital.”

After calling off a show at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 29, the band subsequently cancelled a two-night stand at the Waldbühne in Berlin.

Though Vedder didn’t say who in the band was affected other than a “few of us,” he came clean about what a profound impact the health scare had on him. “You just realize how precious this life is,” he said. “How lucky we are to have been living on a planet where we can go around and play to incredible people like the people in this room here tonight. So, it was a poignant experience. I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. And we won’t be forgetting tonight anytime soon.”

Last week, Pearl Jam announced the show cancellations in a statement, writing on social media, “Despite everyone’s best efforts, the band has yet to make a full recovery. The impacts of this decision are not lost on us. We feel deeply that so many people spend their time, money and emotional energy to get tickets and then to come see the band, and it is heart-wrenching to have to disappoint you. We also appreciate the many people whose hard work goes into making these shows happen.”

The band’s next show is at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid, Spain on Thursday (July 11). After a gig in Portugal on July 13, the band will have a month off before picking their Dark Matter world tour up again on August 22 in Missoula, MT.

Watch fan video of Veddder’s comments below.

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