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Wilko Johnson appears in a scene from the HBO series Game of Thrones. - Provided courtesy of HBO

'Game of Thrones' actor Wilko Johnson, 65, has terminal cancer

01/11/2013 by Corinne Heller

Wilko Johnson, a "Game of Thrones" actor and former member of rock group Dr. Feelgood, has terminal pancreatic cancer, his manager has revealed.

The announcement was made on the 65-year-old British rocker's Facebook page on Wednesday, January 10.

"I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas," the message read. "He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy. He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity."

Johnson made his acting debut in 2011 as mute executioner Ser Ilyn Payne on the HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones." He is better known in his native UK as a musician. He was the lead guitarist of the UK rock group Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s and then began a solo career.

"He has just set off on a trip to Japan; on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK," his manager said. "There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour."

"Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience," the message added.

Johnson's wife and childhood sweetheart, Irene Knight, died from cancer in August 2004. Johnson helped maintain a memorial and fundraising website for her. They had two sons, Simon and Matthew.

"We were together for 40 years and I love her, I see her in my dreams regularly," Johnson told Mojo magazine in March 2012. "[Expletive] cancer."

In his interview with Mojo magazine, Johnson was also asked about what he believed happens after death.

"Out go the lights," he said. "I am a convinced atheist. If I thought I'd see my wife again after dying, I'd kill myself right away. But I won't. It's almost impossible to appreciate annihilation ... the Big Bang happened 13 and a half billion years ago and up until I popped up in 1947, I was dead, dead, dead! And I know that before very long I'm going back to that oblivion. What is death? You're going back there. Life is sweet, though."

"If I'm being remembered, it means I'm gone, so it doesn't matter!" he added. "Anyone who enjoyed what I did can remember me, though."

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