Former ANTHRAX Guitarist DAN SPITZ: 'I Was Given A Second Chance To Breathe'

Former ANTHRAX guitarist Dan Spitz, who underwent open-heart surgery on Friday, June 5 after it was discovered that the main artery to his heart was almost "completely closed," has released the following "open letter to all the wonderful fans, friends and family that has shown me so much love during this trying time":

"I am home and live to riff another day.

"Those who know me closely are quite stunned that something such as this can happen so suddenly to a person who has worked out each and every day of their life, strict diets of no red meat for so many years I can't count, no drinking, no smoking and just an all-around healthy person.

"Lately, I had been having a shortness of breath during the mixing of the new CD. During a family trip to the Bronx Zoo for Brendan and Jaden's [Dan's two-year-old twins] B-Day, I was pushing a double stroller and suddenly felt extreme shortness of breath, as well as a feeling of a couple of the gorillas jumping out of their cages and strangling my chest from behind. Thinking this was simply asthma or something cardiovascular, we left the zoo and I did not seek medical attention. A few days later, during the twins' check-up at our pediatrician's office, I asked him to give a listen to my chest and he then insisted I head to the ER. Upon arrival at the hospital, most people were looking at me as though I was an alien due to my age and health. After being strung up like a pin cushion for a day, they decided I should have a heart test that injects dye throughout your heart to check for malfunctions. They found my main artery to my heart was more than 90% closed and immediately operated to fix this.

"If I had not gone to see the monkeys at the Bronx Zoo and the insistence of our pediatrician (Dr. Marc Habert), my wife Candi and my brother 'The Beast' FORCING me to head over to ER, I am told I would NOT be here today to thank all of you for all of your love and caring letters, emails and so much more.

"I was placed here to give beautiful music to all of you, and this is what I will do full-time from this point forward. I was given a second chance to breathe, from God, and I will use this newfound opportunity to hopefully bring joy to others' daily life.

"PLEASE, if any of you feel a pain in your chest or have extreme shortness of breath out of the ordinary, seek medical attention immediately. I am a prime example of the last person on earth this should happen to. If it can happen to me, it can certainly happen to you.

"Personal thanks to my brother Dave Mustaine for the funniest prayer going… Charlie, Frank, Scott (my ANTHRAX brothers forever) for such caring heart felt emails… Peter Baltes [ACCEPT], my brother, whom I will be spending countless future years with, all the fans who wrote anything online on Blabbermouth or any other metal news portals online.

"Candi won't let me back on the computer for a bit so I'm on forced bed rest by my wife. She is the best wife I could have dreamed to come home to. I love you, sweetheart."

Spitz has reportedly been collaborating with ACCEPT bassist Peter Baltes on a new album which is expected to see the light of day soon. Matt Thompson from KING DIAMOND did some drum overdubs on the CD and will be the touring drummer for the project, which features Spitz on guitar and lead vocals. "I worked so hard at perfecting my voice for this music," Spitz stated last year. "Who better to relay the message set forth within me than me? I actually really like singing and can't wait to hit the stages doing so."

Spitz took took part in the reunion of ANTHRAX's classic lineup in 2005 and 2006 but eventually left the band in order to concentrate on his other career as a "master watchmaker."

In a January 2007 interview with Eddie Trunk of the "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM, ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian stated about Spitz, "Whether people are aware or not, Danny's, like, a big deal in the really, really fancy, expensive watch world — like crazy, super-high-end watches — and he's got his own line of watches coming out. It's weird, because before the reunion I would read this stuff online, and I would just kind of be like, 'What the hell…?' But then like after hanging out with the guy for 20 months and you actually talk to him and see the watches and what-not, I was like, 'Holy crap!' It's a pretty big deal."

Dan and wife Candi with daughters Julia and Lianna:

Dan and Candi's identical twins, Brendan Alan Spitz and Jaden Michael Spitz, born May 29, 2007:

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