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Mountain Guitarist Has Lower Leg Amputated

Leslie West undergoes emergency surgery

June 21, 2011 11:20 AM ET
Leslie West of Mountain performing at the Heros of Woodstock Tour on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock at the Bethel Woods Art Center on August 15, 2009 in Bethel, New York.
Leslie West of Mountain performing at the Heros of Woodstock Tour on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock at the Bethel Woods Art Center on August 15, 2009 in Bethel, New York.
Bobby Bank/WireImage

Mountain guitarist Leslie West has had his lower right leg amputated in a life-saving operation related to his type 2 diabetes. West, 65, underwent the emergency surgery at a hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi on Saturday after his leg began to swell and his foot went septic. In a statement, West's wife Jenni West revealed that doctors had attempted save the leg, but were forced to sever the limb to avoid the risk of having the infection spread to the rest of his body.

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West is expected to recover from the surgery, but will face an extensive rehabilitation period. The guitarist has a new album titled The Unusual Suspects in the can, but the disc, which features appearances by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Slash from Guns N' Roses, will probably not be released until after West has completed his physical therapy.

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