MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson says that he is "optimistic" about Dave Mustaine's chances of beating throat cancer.
The 57-year-old MEGADETH leader revealed his cancer diagnosis on June 17 on social media. He said that he has already begun treatment as part of a plan that his doctors feel has a "90% success rate."
Speaking with "Rock Hard With Jay Conroy", Ellefson said (hear audio below): "Look, Dave's a fighter, man. Dave's a fighter and he's a survivor. We're optimistic about the treatments and about the outcome. Like Dave said in his announcement, it's something that needs to be respected and dealt with head-on, which is what he's doing; you can't sort of dance around it. So, like he does, he's not here to mess around; he's stepping up and going into the belly of the beast. But, yeah, look, we're optimistic about the treatments, and we're hopeful about the outcome. And in the meantime, we've been working hard on the new album, and we're gonna continue to work on the album, even during this season, in whatever shape or form that is. We had to give a heads up that some shows are gonna have to be canceled, and we felt it better to let people know sooner than later about that. So, yeah, hence the announcement. We take it day by day, and certainly thoughts and prayers to Dave are much appreciated."
Although most of MEGADETH's previously announced 2019 tour dates have been canceled as Mustaine undergoes treatment, the MEGADETH-curated Megacruise — which is set to take place October 13-19 — will still depart as scheduled, and the band will be a part of it in some form.
"Yeah, that was one thing that we looked at, and we felt it important to keep that out there," Ellefson said. "Because the cruise is bigger than just MEGADETH — it's bigger because there's so many bands involved, and it's also a destination vacation for so many people. Look, in the best-case scenario, Dave is healthy and we're ready to kick some ass. Regardless of how that plays out, we're on the boat in some way, shape or form, and that's all yet to… it'll kind of play itself out. But let's all rally around the flag of heavy metal and the support that all those bands have been showing for Dave and MEGADETH as well. So, better to keep some things in play, because there's a way that everybody can participate and enjoy that, even if it has to be modified a little bit."
Mustaine and Ellefson are the two remaining original members of MEGADETH, which was formed in 1983, following Mustaine's dismissal from METALLICA.