'You're the Voice' singer John Farnham has part of his jaw removed as he fights cancer

25 August 2022, 14:32

John Farnham is battling cancer
John Farnham is battling cancer. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

John Farnham is in a "stable condition" after having part of his jaw removed while completing treatment for mouth cancer.

The 73-year-old singer - best known for the '80s power ballad 'You're the Voice' - underwent a 12-hour operation on Tuesday (August 23) after recently finding a cancerous growth.

In a statement, John's family said: "John has been through an eleven-and-a-half-hour surgery in Melbourne yesterday and is now in a stable condition in ICU. The cancer tumour was located in his mouth, and it has been successfully removed."

They added: "There is still a long road of recovery and healing ahead of us, but we know John is up for that task.

"We are in awe of the incredible teams of healthcare professionals who have guided us through this very challenging time with such compassion.

"To all the surgeons, doctors, nurses and consultants – thank you one and all so very much."

John Farnham with Brian May in 2020
John Farnham with Brian May in 2020. Picture: Getty

The Australian singer has been married to partner Jillian Billman since 1973, and they have two sons together — Rob and James.

Speaking about his health issues in 2019, John said he felt better after not smoking: "I haven't had a smoke for a few months which I'm happy about and that's made me feel better.

"I'm still having a love affair with the occasional glass of red wine," he told the Herald Sun.

He added: "Stupid habit. It was a little easier to quit from cigars, but I'm better off not smoking, I'm a bloody singer for God's sake."

While largely known for his big hit 'You're the Voice' outside Australia, he is one of his homeland's biggest ever entertainers.

John was a teen pop idol from 1967 until 1979, then known as Johnny Farnham, but found even greater success as an adult contemporary singer.

He is the only Australian artist to have a number-one record in five consecutive decades. He also released collaborative albums with the likes of Tom Jones and Olivia Newton-John.

John also won the 1987 Australian of the Year, 1996 Officer of the Order of Australia, and 19 ARIA Awards.