'Grateful' Lesh Gets Transplant

Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh was in stable condition Friday following liver transplant surgery.

Lesh, 58, was hospitalized for several days in September near his Marin County, Calif., home with internal bleeding stemming from hepatitis C, which he learned he had in 1992.

"He is in excellent condition in that they are totally pleased with his progress," said Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally. "He's been ultimately a healthy person for many, many years."

The Grateful Dead and their legions of followers were known for using drugs during the band's heyday. But there is no way of knowing what caused Lesh's hepatitis infection, McNally said.

Lesh is best known for the Dead's "Unbroken Chain," his signature song about the counterculture band's connection with its audience. Lesh also sang the wistful "Box of Rain," which he wrote while his father was dying.

As bassist for The Other Ones, named after a Grateful Dead song, Lesh recently toured the country with Dead members Mickey Hart and Bob Weir.

Lead singer Jerry Garcia died Aug. 9, 1995, at a drug rehabilitation clinic in Marin County at age 53, and drummer Bill Kreutzmann did not join the tour because he didn't want to travel.

Three other members have died: Brent Mydland in 1990 of a drug overdose, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan of liver disease in 1973, and Keith Godchaux in a 1980 highway crash after he left the group.

Lesh also has been composing a symphony, "Keys to the Rain," incorporating parts of Grateful Dead songs.

Lesh's wife, Jill, and sons, Brian and Grahame, were with him at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., where the surgery was performed Thursday.

Written By Jordan Lite