Famed Pianist John Tesh Just Shared A Big Health Update

Pianist and composer John Tesh will play his first live-streamed concert event on October 9. But more importantly than his return to the stage is the update Tesh recently gave on his health: He is cancer-free after having prostate cancer for a second time. The second diagnosis came roughly five years after his first prostate cancer diagnosis.

"I woke up with an enormous amount of pain one morning in October 2020 — I had pain in both my legs," Tesh told People. "It turned out there were two tumors around either side of my pelvis and wrapped around my organs." 

Despite the second cancer diagnosis, Tesh called himself "battle ready" when going through chemotherapy. He needed several surgeries, he shared with People. "I felt less like a guy who was sick trying to get well and more like somebody who was healed well resisting sickness," the composer said to the magazine. Following his surgeries, including the removal of his prostate, Tesh shared with People that he's now cancer-free.

John Tesh began "drinking heavily" after his first cancer diagnosis

When he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, John Tesh had a difficult time coming to terms with his diagnosis. At the time, doctors told him he had 18 months left to live. "It was a get-your-affairs-in-order speech," he told People. Tesh added that he started "drinking heavily" after receiving the news.

"When you're in that situation — we thought I was terminally ill — that identity gives you a lot of free rein," Tesh explained. "The doctor wants you to have Vicodin so you can feel better, and people look the other way when you're drinking scotch every night and mixing the two."

Despite that initial diagnosis, along with his substance abuse issues, Tesh pulled through, thanks in large part to the help of his wife, Connie Sellecca. "Ultimately my wife and I went toe-to-toe and she said, 'I am not going to abide this. This is my battle too. And you're giving up,'" he said. It was Sellecca who helped advocate for the former "Entertainment Tonight" host and stood by his side during his treatment, even becoming so educated on the diagnosis that doctors thought she had a medical degree. "If it hadn't been for her I probably would've taken myself out," Tesh said to the New York Post in February 2020. In addition to his wife's support, Tesh told Fox News that his Christian faith helped get him through the cancer treatment.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He uses his experience as inspiration

Now that John Tesh is cancer-free for the second time, he uses what he has been through to inspire others. During his concerts, both pre-pandemic and in his upcoming live-streamed event, Tesh uses music as a way to uplift his audience members and teach them how to embrace the obstacles in life.

"There's going to be a lot on there about hope and motivation and stories of healing," he explained to People when discussing the upcoming concert. In between the songs, Tesh will offer a message of hope "and really specific detail about how I approached healing in my life."

And healing is what he has done. Despite needing his prostate removed and having only one functioning kidney after his cancer battle, Tesh says he feels well. "I often talk about the principle of embracing suffering as part of what we have to deal with on this planet," he said to People. "It's sort of become a ministry for me, which is seeking out people's hearts and helping them understand that God does not create sickness. The promise of the nature of God is healing, he is on your side."