Nerve damage and age are robbing Eric Clapton of his ability to play the guitar.
The 71-year-old rock star revealed his condition in an interview with Classic Guitar magazine, saying that he has “been in a lot of pain the last year.”
Clapton went on to further describe his condition: “It started with lower back pain and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy, which is where you feel like you have electric shocks going down your leg. And I’ve had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy may be inherited or caused by injury, infection and exposure to toxins.
Despite these setbacks, the rocker remains prolific, recently releasing “I Still Do,” his 23rd solo album. He even expressed surprise at his own longevity.
“Because I’m in recovery from alcoholism and addiction to substances, I consider it a great thing to be alive at all,” Clapton said. “By rights I should have kicked the bucket a long time ago. For some reason I was plucked from the jaws of hell and given another chance.”
Clapton has had a life filled with tragedy. In 1991, his 4-year-old son fell out of an open window on the 53rd floor of his New York City apartment and died. One year earlier, Clapton’s agent, bodyguard and tour manager perished in a helicopter crash that also took the life of fellow rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan.