Lionel Richie reveals that he came close to a nervous breakdown when it appeared he could lose his voice.
The 72-year-old singer made the confession during an interview with People, in which he addressed receiving treatment for a mysterious condition.
The illness, which affected Richie’s throat, took hold in the 90s when his career was considered to be at an all-time high. Under the advisement of doctors, Richie underwent four bouts of surgery to try and treat the condition, as well as turning to holistic cures.
Ultimately identified as diet-induced acid reflux, Richie went on to make a full recovery though continues to recall the stress of that period as, “about as close as you ever would’ve come to a nervous breakdown.”
“You don’t want anybody fooling around down there. This is your identity,” said Richie. “I never really thought that it would end.”
Recounting an interaction with a fan that helped him through the ordeal, he described encountering a man on a beach in Jamaica: “He said, ‘You must survive because you are our beacon of hope.”
“If you make it, we know we can make it. If you accomplish, we know we can accomplish.’ I was crying.”