Burr, the drummer with Maiden from 1979 until 1982, has been in a wheelchair as a result of multiple sclerosis, which has been attacking his nervous system since before he was diagnosed in 2002.
MS reduces the ability of the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other, resulting in a wide range of potentially severe symptoms. The cause is unknown and there is no cure; but in 2009 researchers made the first breakthrough in reversing symptoms through stem cell therapy.
Di’Anno tells Talking Metal Pirate Radio Burr’s condition is “not very good at all.”
The singer continues: “He sounds drunk all the time. He sounds terrible. He can’t walk. He can’t use his hands now. It’s a bloody evil disease.
“I’ve done quite a few Clive Aids and I’ll do as many as they want me to because I love him. But it’s very difficult for me to see him, because I always want to cry – and that’s the last thing he needs.
“It’s so sad. I hope he’s happy, or as happy as you can be.
“We’re trying to get the money up for him to go and get stem cell treatment. It’s bloody dangerous – but the thing is, he’s going to die anyway, of MS or at some stage.
“Me, I’d take the chance. You’ve got nothing to lose. It could give you something; he could actually walk again. I’m not going to say he’s ever going to play drums again because that’ll probably never happen. But a bit more movement.”
Maiden and its associated acts helped form the Clive Aid charity in 2004 to assist their colleague and raise awareness of the issues associated with MS. In 2009 the drummer was presented with a new wheelchair as a result of fundraising efforts.
-Classic Rock Magazine