‘Tis but a scratch!’ John Cleese reveals he had cancerous tumour removed

Jun 09, 2020
The Monty Python legend shared a statement on Twitter. Source: Getty.

Iconic Monty Python star John Cleese has opened up about a second cancer scare, revealing on social media that he’d gone under the knife to have a tumour removed. Writing on Twitter on Monday, the 80-year-old played down the procedure which he described as “very minor”.

“Had a minor operation on Friday A surgeon cut a small cancerous bit out of my leg Very minor,” he wrote. “At my age this sort of thing happens about once a week.”

The comedy legend then ended his tweet with a nod to the famous Black Knight sketch from 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cleese wrote: “He [the surgeon] did a beautiful job, sewed it up and said ‘Tis but a scratch’.”

Fans were quick to wish Cleese a speedy recovery, with many jumping on his reference to the iconic 1970s sketch by commenting: “It’s just a flesh wound.” Another wrote: “He’s had worse.”

While another said: “It’s so funny how EVERYONE across the known Universe says in unison upon reading your Tweet, ‘It’s just a flesh wound!’. A testimony to The Pythons’ enduring presence in our hearts and psyches. Heal well, Mr. Cleese (I’ve had one of those nasty bits, too – 35 yrs ago!).”

It’s the second cancer scare for the Fawlty Towers star after he suffered a prostate cancer scare in the 1960s. According to The Sun, he said at time that the experience made him “live on the basis that I might at any given moment fall under a bus”.

The news comes less than five months after John farewelled his fellow Monty Python star Terry Jones, who passed away in January at the age of 77. Jones died as a result of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which impacts the front and sides of the brain, and gradually removes the ability to speak.

The actor and director’s family released a statement saying that he passed away at home in London after a “long, extremely brave but always good humoured battle” with FTD. “We have lost a kind, funny, warm, creative and truly loving man whose uncompromising individuality, relentless intellect and extraordinary humour has given pleasure to countless millions across six decades,” the statement said.

Cleese led tributes to his friend and colleague at the time, describing Jones as “a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm”.

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Have you been affected by cancer? Can you relate to John Cleese's statement?

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