Monkees fans received some terrifying news on June 21st when the group announced that the final four dates of their The Monkees Present: The Mike & Mickey Show would be indefinitely postponed because singer-guitarist Michael Nesmith suffered an unspecified health scare. Hours later, TMZ made it seem even scarier. “We’re told 75-year-old Nesmith collapsed to the ground during the band’s soundcheck Thursday afternoon at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA,” they wrote. “Michael was not unconscious, but he was rushed to a hospital.”
Nesmith stayed completely silent over the next month, but the musician has now broken his silence, explaining to Rolling Stone that contrary to TMZ’s initial report (which they later partially walked back), he never collapsed. He was, however, experiencing severe shortness of breath that caused him to rush to his cardiologist at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula where he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure that required quadruple bypass heart surgery.
“I was using the words ‘heart attack’ for a while,” says Nesmith. “But I’m told now that I didn’t have one. It was congestive heart failure. It has taken me four weeks to climb out of it. If anybody ever comes up to you on the street and offers you [bypass surgery] for free, turn them down. It hurts.”