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X Japan's Yoshiki to undergo emergency neck surgery in U.S.

Yoshiki, the leader and drummer of Japanese metal band X Japan,
will undergo emergency surgery to replace a damaged disc in his neck
next Tuesday, according to an announcement from his management team.

Yoshiki, whose full name is Yoshiki Hayashi, will have the
cervical artificial disc replacement procedure in Los Angeles, where
he has been living for the last two decades.

The statement said that the damage to the musician's neck was as
a result of his "intense drumming style," and had caused numbness and
paralysis in his left hand and arm.

It added that a neurosurgeon in Japan had told Yoshiki that his
injury would have forced "a professional rugby player to retire," and
it had been determined the musician was "approaching his limit, both
physically and mentally."

A doctor was quoted in the statement as saying "the damage is so
severe that it is apparent that he has experienced considerable pain
while performing."

Yoshiki underwent surgery to his neck in 2009, but has continued
to suffer problems since then.

Speaking to Kyodo News in March, he said he had no intention of
putting a stop to his musical work.

"If we are sports athletes, of course we might have passed the
peak...but Paul McCartney is still around, so is Mick Jagger. Also
the lifespan is getting longer and longer. We'll see," he said.

"We are still singing the same high notes, (playing at) the same
speed...I don't know how long it's going to last, but so far, so
good," he added, before confidently claiming, "I think we are better
than before."

X Japan began in the early 1980s, and disbanded in 1997 before
reuniting again in 2007. (May 10)

Yoshiki of the X Japan