Australian music legend John Farnham’s family said he was making “good progress” and had been transferred from intensive care to a general hospital ward.
The 73-year-old underwent a 12-hour marathon operation by 26 surgeons in August to remove a cancerous growth from his mouth – which forced doctors to move part of his jaw.
The family say it’s “unlikely” he’ll ever perform again – but an update from wife Jill and sons Rob and James encouraged his fans that the singer is on the road to recovery after being moved to a general room became.
“That in itself is great progress,” the family said in a statement.
“John was transferred to a rehabilitation facility this week. Each of these steps means that things are moving in the right direction, and for that we are enormously grateful.”
They also thanked his “tens of thousands” of fans who created a website called weloveyoujohn.com.au to support Farnham.
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford said there were doubts Farnham would return to the stage following the death of his dear friend and manager Glenn Wheatley in February this year, but added it was now even more unlikely.
“Certainly now it has to be said that the probability (of it occurring) is even lower,” he told 6PR last month.
Farnham only discovered he had the cancer in his mouth after his wife Jill insisted that he be taken to the doctor for a check-up.
“The cancerous tumor was in his mouth and was successfully removed,” Ms Farnham said.
“We still have a long road of recovery and healing ahead of us, but we know John is up to the task.”
Mr Ford said the first part of his surgery was the removal of his tumour.
“And after that was done, the reconstruction team moved in almost immediately because, I’m told, John had a large portion of his jaw removed,” he said.
Gaynor Wheatley, Glenn Wheatley’s widow, said Farnham’s family only found out about his cancer a few weeks ago.
“I think John suffers from that man thing that says ‘I’m fine’ and he was lucky and we have Jill to thank for taking him to the doctors (where they found that legion in his mouth , which is now taken out and addressed,” she told the Today Show.
She said there were no complications and thanked the “hero” surgeons who operated on Farnham.
“I think at one point there were 26 surgeons, so they’re our heroes, they’re our rock stars,” Ms. Wheatley said.
She added that Farnham is expected to “look great” by Christmas.
“There will be a time in the hospital where we are just recovering from surgery and treatment will continue to make sure we have everything,” she said.
The Farnham family confirmed he is now recovering in intensive care and thanked health workers for their efforts.
“We are in awe of the incredible teams of healthcare professionals who have guided us through this very challenging time with such compassion,” they said.
“You all took on this great task today and gave us a great result.
“To all the surgeons, doctors, nurses and consultants – thank you all so much.”
Mr Ford previously reported the singer emerged from surgery on Tuesday night after “joking” with hospital staff ahead of the delicate procedure.