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Pete Doherty Discusses Health Struggles, Says He's Been Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

The studio was alcohol-free for the new Libertines album. 'To be able to say to my wife, "I’m not drinking," I was proud,' Doherty says.

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Pete Doherty performing at Royal Albert Hall on May 05, 2023.

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Pete Doherty reasonably thought that the worst of his problems were over when he kicked heroin. Little did he know that Type 2 Diabetes was lurking just around the corner.

Doherty addressed this new health development this past weekend in an interview with The Guardian, revealing that, in addition to being diagnosed with that disease, he’s also struggling because “at the moment I’m lacking the discipline to tackle cholesterol.”

“I gave up the main poisons and my health improved,” Doherty told The Guardian. “Then you get told alcohol and cheese and sugar are just as bad and you were healthier when you were on heroin.”

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Pete Doherty at the Charity football match 'Game4Ukraine' on August 5, 2023

Doherty has come a long way over the course of his career, and given the life he’s lived over the years, the fact that he’s embraced sobriety and settled down comes as a welcome surprise.

As journalist Simon Hattenstone – who first interviewed Doherty 19 years earlier when the musician was knee-deep in his demons – writes in the aforementioned Guardian piece, “Twenty years ago he was skinny, boyish, with a fragile beauty. Today, his hair is grey and he’s a huge wardrobe of a man. When Doherty piles on the pounds, it usually means he’s not taking drugs. It’s when he’s at his skinniest we need to worry.”

He's also still able to write and record music, which pleased him to no end. “I was relieved,” he told The Guardian. “And proud. To be able to say to my wife, ‘I’m not drinking,’ I was proud.”

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Scheduled for release on March 8, the band's upcoming fourth album, All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade, comes nearly a decade after the group’s Anthems for Doomed Youth, which peaked at No. 3 in the U.K. album chart. Anthems was the group’s first album since reuniting after their chaotic 2004 disbandment, following several breathless years in which the group gained a reputation as one of the most magnetic and most dysfunctional bands to emerge out of the U.K. in years, driven by the ever-combustible chemistry of co-frontmen Doherty and Carl Barât.

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In an interview last year with Louis Theroux for his appropriately-titled BBC series Louis Theroux Interviews..., Doherty discussed the state of his health, saying, “You are looking at a very sick man.”

“I’ve battered it, haven’t I, I’ve f***ing caned it,” said Doherty. “[The] heroin and the crack… I surrendered to that, and then it was cocaine and the smoking and the alcohol, and now it’s cheese and the saucisson, and the sugar in the tea. It’s all gotta go. They told me a little while ago if you don’t change your diet then you’re gonna have diabetes and cholesterol problems. Death’s lurking, you know what I mean?”

Thankfully, Doherty's attitude seems to have gotten at least slightly more positive in the interim. At the very least, he's optimistic about the new album, telling The Guardian: "We made a good go of our music, which we both believe in, and I think we both trust each other with. We didn’t go into the studio with the songs written. We spent a lot of time sat there with a typewriter, hammering these songs out, so we believe in the album and trust the album."

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