Grateful Dead bassist has prostate cancer

Grateful Dead bassisthas prostate cancer
NEW YORK -- Former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has revealed that he has prostate cancer. "Since we've caught it very early, and it's small and slow-growing, I fully expect to have a rapid and complete recovery," Lesh, 66, says in a statement on his Web site. He plans to have surgery in early December. Lesh says he's been monitored by "a crack team of doctors" since his 1998 liver transplant. One doctor noticed recently that he had elevated levels of prostate specific antigens (PSA), proteins produced by cells of the prostate gland. High PSA levels can indicate prostate cancer. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis, Lesh said. "I am feeling energetic as always, and all my scheduled appearances will occur as planned," he tells fans. The statement was posted Thursday.
Oprah's favorite giveaway
CHICAGO -- Oprah Winfrey has famously given members of her audience new cars, paid off their debts and fulfilled their wildest dreams. Now she's given them what she calls the "gift of giving back." On a show that aired Monday, Winfrey gave more than 300 audience members 1,000 debit cards sponsored by the Bank of America to donate to a charitable cause. Winfrey called the show her "favorite giveaway ever. ... I can honestly say that every gift I've ever given has brought at least as much happiness to me as it has to the person I've given it to," the 52-year-old talk-show host said. "That's the feeling I want to pass on to you." People can give the entire sum to one person -- relatives aren't eligible -- or they can split it among charitable causes. Audience members also received a DVD recorder to tape their stories for a future show. "You're going to open your hearts, you're going to be really creative, and you're going to spend it all at once on one stranger or spend a dollar on every person," Winfrey said. "Imagine the love and kindness you can spread with 1,000."
The single Whitney
NEW YORK -- Whitney Houston, who has announced her split from Bobby Brown after a tumultuous 14-year marriage, is stepping out as a new woman. Houston, 43, was escorted to a benefit for juvenile diabetes research in Beverly Hills, Calif., by her longtime record producer, Clive Davis, People magazine reported Monday on its Web site. "I feel great," Houston was quoted as saying, while Davis, one of Saturday evening's honorees, told People: "We're going to make a killer album." A blond Houston, wearing a black gown and diamond earrings, sat at the main table for the 17th Carousel of Hope Ball with Halle Berry and Berry's boyfriend, model Gabriel Aubry, People said. "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee sang Houston's "I Have Nothing" at the event. "It's her first big appearance since the breakup," McPhee, 22, was quoted as saying on the arrivals carpet. Houston filed divorce papers in Orange County Superior Court two weeks ago, a month after filing for legal separation from Brown. In the separation papers, the pop singer asked for custody of the couple's 13-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and that Brown, 37, be allowed visitation rights. The couple wed in 1992.
Today's birthdays
Author Dick Francis is 86. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 76. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 75. Actor David Ogden Stiers is 64. Country singer and Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman is 62. Actress Deidre Hall is 58. Talk show host Jane Pauley is 56. Movie director Peter Jackson is 45. Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) is 43. Actor Rob Schneider is 42. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (Rob Van Winkle) is 38. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 36. Actress Piper Perabo is 30.

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