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Styx’s Chuck Panozzo Talks About Life With AIDS

Brian Bahr, Getty Images

In 2001, Chuck Panozzo, founding bassist for Styx, announced that he is gay and living with full-blown AIDS. In a new interview, he discusses the challenges of living with the disease while being in a touring rock band.

“What the band has taught me psychologically is that I need to go out and be with my band as they continue their legacy in the rock n’ roll world forever,” he told JC Online. “How could that not help me in my recovery process? I have a band that is willing to make sure that I stay healthy.”

Because of his health, Panozzo, whose twin brother John drummed in Styx until his death in 1996, has had to scale back the number of shows he plays with the band. He usually works the beginnings and ends of tours, because he cannot handle the long bus trips between gigs. Ricky Phillips, formerly of Bad English, plays on most dates. Still, Panozzo, who also recently battled prostate cancer, says modern medicine has helped a lot in his fight against the disease.

“I’m a lot better now though,” he continued. “My T-cells are up and I keep up with my prescription. I can’t complain…You have to have goals and faith in yourself. Whatever you have you have to deal with it, to the end, the best you can.”

Next: Top 10 Styx Songs

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