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Def Leppard Guitarist on His Hair Loss from Cancer

Losing your hair can be a daunting experience for any man, but when you’re part of an internationally renowned hair metal band known for big, bad rock star manes, the blow can be even harder.

Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell recently spoke to the Calgary Herald in Canada about coming to terms with his hair loss from cancer.

Def Leppard Guitarist Vivian Campbell in the 1990s

Def Leppard Guitarist Vivian Campbell in the 1990s

Afraid to let go

The Northern Irish rocker joined Sheffield-based Def Leppard in 1992 after stints with bands like Whitesnake, who were also known for their classic 80’s rock hair.

Campbell had been growing his hair long since he was 11 years old but, after being diagnosed with Hodgkinson’s lymphoma in 2013, the effects of his chemotherapy treatment forced him to embrace baldness.

When you have long hair your whole life and you’re a rock guitar player it becomes so much a part of your identity, and then you’re afraid to let go of it,” the 52 year old explains.

I would have genuinely not cut my hair because I would have been afraid to let go of it. And then all of a sudden that power’s taken away from you, your hair’s going anyway, and you learn that it’s not important.”

Change of priorities

Following various types of chemotherapy, Vivian Campbell relapsed before undergoing stem-cell treatment, which seems to have been successful.

Understandably, Campbell says that having cancer changed his priorities. Although it took him a while to get used to having no hair or eyebrows, he realised his appearance just wasn’t as important to him as he had previously thought.

The ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ star admits he initially bought a wig to hide his hair loss but decided to go with the natural look after wearing it for just 15 minutes.

Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell is now recovering from Hodgkinson's lymphoma thanks to stem-cell treatment

Vivian has now regrown his hair following, hopefully successful, cancer treatment

Regrowth after cancer

Hair loss from cancer treatment can happen quite quickly, but it may take up to a year following the last session, to grow hair back. Although rare, it is possible for this temporary hair loss to become permanent in some people.

The musician, who credits focusing on preparing for the band’s latest world tour and album release for aiding his recovery, has now managed to regrow his hair.

Although he is wearing it shorter than in the band’s heyday, Campbell admits, “I have a grown-up haircut and I’m enjoying it. And I’m kind of thankful I have it, to be honest.”

Since modern artists like Taylor Swift have cited the band among their influences, a younger audience is looking forward to seeing Def Leppard’s live show – whether the band have hair or not.


Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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