Croatian metal site Perun.hr caught up with Overkill vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth prior to the band’s March 11th show in Zargreb, Croatia. Here is his take on the rumours that went around after his stroke:
On the rumours that he was near death when he suffered a stroke on stage in Germany in 2002: “It wasn’t near death. It’s what’s called the TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack); it’s a small stroke. My mother gets it. It wasn’t [caused by my] lifestyle. I was sober. I was sober for ten years on the road — 1995 to 2005. Not one drink, ain’t no drugs… Nothing! It was just tobacco and coffee. And this is genetic, so it was something I could never see coming. It just happened then.
“The most damage that was done from it I fell down a flight of stairs. I didn’t just fall where the stroke happened. I knew something was wrong and I went to the side of the stage and I held and I lost my grip and I went down the stairs and knocked myself out. That’s where the damage was; not the stroke. So [I] wasn’t really near death.
“I read some great rumors afterwards — that I’d blown my brains out on a stage in Germany. This was some Brazilian magazine. [They said that I’d pulled out a gun in the middle of this [venue] and [there was] like a ‘Boom!
“[After the stroke] I was up walking around. My son was on the road with me at the time. He was 18. I had a good friend in Nürnberg, and she took him to her apartment so that he had a place to go. So that was comfortable. I was going to meet my girlfriend in The Netherlands two days later. She was okay with it. I mean, it was no problem. I was on a train two days after that with my son going to The Netherlands. I was tired, but I wasn’t… If I’d had a near-death experience, I [wouldn’t have been released from] the hospital in two days.”
He covers more topics in the video the site recorded.