When Eric Clapton Collapsed After A Show And Almost Died

Eric Clapton is one of the most influential rock/blues guitarists of all time. He has been in the rock/blues scene since 1962 and is still active both in his career and in the media. He has been awarded many rankings throughout his career. He is the second in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list and Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time. In 2009, he was chosen to be number five on Time’s The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players. 

Clapton sold 280 million records worldwide, and this made him one of the best-selling artists of all time. Of course, his success was only the positive side of his almost 60-year-old career. He also had a dark side where he was an alcoholic and a drug addict who didn’t accept it back when he was abusing them.

During the 1980s, Clapton was using and spending a lot of money on drugs, but he didn’t think he was an addict because he figured that his management would warn him if they thought he was going out of control. Clapton thought that as long as he can stand straight on stage, he would be fine. However, unfortunately, in 1981, he collapsed after his show in Madison, Wisconsin and almost died.

Why Did Eric Clapton Collapse?

As you may know, he had been struggling with alcohol and drug abuse problems that he didn’t want to admit to himself. Not just him, but no one around him seemed to care that much that he was overdoing it. This resulted in big health problems for the musician. After the collapse, Clapton found out that he had five ulcers ‘with the size of a small orange’ and that they were pressing up to his pancreas which could kill him any second.

Here is what he stated in his autobiography about after he collapsed:

“We flew to St. Paul, Minnesota, where Roger Forrester, had me rushed to a hospital. I was diagnosed with five bleeding ulcers; one was the size of a small orange. The doctors told Roger, who wanted to fly me back to England, that I could die at any moment since one of the ulcers was pressing on my pancreas, and could burst imminently.

His condition was related to alcohol by his doctors and they immediately forbid him to drink but he cut back until he healed and then returned to his old ways of drinking afterward. After a couple of weeks, he decided to go to rehab and became more aware of his condition.