Former Guns N' Roses guitarist Buckethead has been diagnosed with a chronic heart arrhythmia that he says nearly caused a stroke.

"It’s been doing it for a long time, but recently it just really kicked up and became really intense," Buckethead, who was born Brian Patrick Carroll, told the Coming Alive podcast (via Alternative Nation). "I really didn’t know what was going on. I just tried to deal with it, and let it do what it did, and eventually it would stop – but it got really intense so I went to the doctor and they said: ‘You’re on the verge of having a stroke.’ I’m like, ‘Wow,’ because I felt so good prior to having it. I was doing pretty well and everything."

Doctors recommended that the guitarist undergo an ablation, a procedure done via catheter or chest surgery where scar tissue is created in an effort to halt the atrial fibrillation. Buckethead said an operation didn't help.

"I’m still dealing with it. So, it’s been really difficult, because it’s scary because it comes on. Even walking across a room is difficult," he added. "It seems like now I’m letting this thing sort of exist now in me. I can’t really escape it; I’m always aware of the intensity of my heartbeat. It’s just not something that I’d ever experienced, so it definitely kind of scares me."

Buckethead followed Robin Finck in Guns N' Roses during a tenure that lasted from 2000-04. Along the way, he contributed to all but two tracks on the long-delayed Chinese Democracy album, memorably adding flamenco guitar on "If the World." Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal replaced Buckethead, and continued with Guns N' Roses until they staged a partial reunion of their best-known lineup beginning in 2016.

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