British rock star Chris Rea is amazed he's still alive after a life-threatening operation left him emaciated, diabetic and addicted to morphine.

The LET'S DANCE singer, 53, has taken three years to recover from the lethal operation to remove his duodenum, pancreas and central digestive system and still cannot believe he survived.

Rea explains, "PROFESSOR RUSSELL didn't mince his words.

"He said I'd need what's known as a Whipple operation and would be in hospital for several weeks after the op, with tubes coming out of every orifice.

"I would be on morphine, which is notoriously addictive, and then all the tubes would have to be taken out, which is extremely painful.

"I knew there was no choice; it was the operation or die.

"I weighed only eight stone when I came out and, as feared, I had become addicted to morphine.

"It's a miracle that I've survived, really.

"I have no gall bladder, no duodenum, no pancreas and dodgy bile ducts."

22/06/2004 15:17