---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 12:36:02 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Author Ken Kesey in critical condition, suffering from liver tumor
Author Ken Kesey in critical condition, suffering from liver tumor
Friday, November 9, 2001
By Jeff Barnard of the Associated Press
Ken Kesey, the author of the best-selling novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest" and a pioneer of the psychedelic 1960s, was in critical condition at
a Eugene hospital Friday, recovering from surgery for a cancerous tumor on
Kesey, 66, underwent surgery about two weeks ago, said longtime friend Ken
Babbs. Doctors removed 40 percent of his liver, and there were no signs of
cancer elsewhere in his body. Since the surgery, Kesey has gone on kidney
"He's holding his own, but it looks like it will be a long, hard struggle,"
said Babbs. He spoke from his home in Dexter, not far from Kesey's home in
Kesey was in critical condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center, said Diane
Mattoon, a hospital spokeswoman.
Kesey burst onto the literary scene with "Cuckoo's Nest" in 1962, which he
wrote from his experiences working at a veterans hospital. The book became
a broadway play and later a movie, which swept the 1974 Academy Awards for
best picture, best director, best actor and best actress.
But Kesey, who has never seen the film, sued the producers because it took
the viewpoint away from the character of the schizophrenic American Indian,
While writing "Cuckoo's Nest," Kesey volunteered for testing on the drug
LSD. After writing his second novel, "Sometimes a Great Notion," he bought
an old school bus dubbed "Further."
With Neal Cassady, hero of Jack Kerouac's beat generation classic "On the
Road," at the wheel and pitchers of LSD-laced Kool-Aid in the cooler, Kesey
and a band of friends who called themselves The Merry Pranksters took a
trip across America to the New York World's Fair.
The bus ride was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's 1968 account, "The Electric
Kool-Aid Acid Test." Last year Kesey and Babbs released the first
installment of their own video version of the trip.
Though he continued to write books and articles, Kesey did not publish his
third major novel, "Sailor Song," until 1992. He later said he lost
interest in the novel as an art form after discovering the magic of the bus.
Kesey was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992 and suffered a stroke in 1997,
from which he largely recovered.
Since a marijuana bust in California in the 1960s, Kesey has lived on a
farm in Pleasant Hill outside Eugene. His rambling red barn-house is a
landmark of the psychedelic era, attracting visits from myriad strangers in
tie-dyed clothing seeking enlightenment.
The original bus Further stands rusting in a swamp behind his home. A new
incarnation of the bus is taken out regularly for trips with the
Pranksters, including one to England to celebrate the end of the millennium.
On the Net:
Kesey's Prankster site:
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