Leslie West, frontman for the classic rock group Mountain and one of shock jock Howard Stern's favorite guitarists, underwent emergency surgery this past Saturday after his leg began swell due to diabetes. With the infection spreading quickly, doctors were able to save West's life, but he did lose one of his legs below the knee after the operation, Reuters reports. Mountain, most known for their hit "Mississippi Queen" and the fact their fourth gig together was Woodstock, were actually scheduled to perform in Mississippi this weekend before West was rushed to a Biloxi hospital when his leg swelled and his foot went "septic." West has long struggled with type 2 diabetes and his weight, which lent to the band name Mountain.
"The doctors tried for two days to save [the leg] to no avail. The decision to amputate was one that was necessary to save his life as the infection was spreading throughout his body," Leslie's wife Jenni West wrote in an email to Reuters. "The nursing staff and doctors have taken excellent care of him and should be called angels for their efforts and tenderness they showed us in this time of crisis."
The amputation comes right in the midst of a career comeback for West and Mountain: On their upcoming album The Unusual Suspects, the group collaborated with guitarists like Slash, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. "Leslie will, no doubt, bounce back with his unusually bionic blitz of guitarosciousness," Gibbons told Reuters. "Leslie will always be playing and standing on higher ground."
West is also a member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, which is the biggest achievement in music if you ask The Amp, so we wish him well. Check out West at his best:
[Photo: Bobby Bank/WireImage.com]