The apparently indestructible Keith Richards returned to his Weston, Connecticut, home in late May and was said to be “feeling great” after undergoing surgery for a head injury. Though the band’s publicist hasn’t confirmed details of the incident, Richards was reported to have fallen from a tree in late April while picking coconuts with his bandmate Ron Wood on a private resort in the Fiji Islands.
The Rolling Stones pushed back the first fifteen European dates on their A Bigger Bang tour to accommodate Richards’ recovery; at press time, the band was scheduled to return to the stage in early July. Richards, according to his spokeswoman, Fran Curtis, was “happy to be home and looking forward to getting back on the road.”
The guitarist was initially discharged from Ascot Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, on May 2nd, but after complaining of headaches he was readmitted and underwent surgery on May 8th. The New Zealand Herald reported that the operation was to remove a blood clot in his brain, but Curtis would only confirm that the operation was to “relieve pressure.” She emphasized that Richards had not suffered brain damage.
The sixty-two-year-old Richards — who has suffered other accidents in the past, including a 1998 fall from a ladder in his library that resulted in broken ribs and a punctured lung — seemed to be in good spirits after his release from the hospital. “From the doctors to the beautiful ladies who make painful nights less painful and shorter, I’m pretty much at a loss for words to express my deep gratitude,” he said in a statement. “I hope I wasn’t too much of a pain in the arse — after all, it was my head they fixed.”
This story is from the June 15th, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone.