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Clarence Clemons suffers a stroke at home in Florida

June 13, 2011 |  9:39 am

Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen-bruce-spri

Clarence Clemons was said to be stable and responsive Monday after suffering a stroke Sunday at his Florida home. The longtime saxophone player with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band reportedly has undergone two brain surgeries.

"Yesterday, it did not look good at all," a Clemons friend told the Springsteen magazine Backstreets on Monday. "Today... miracles are happening. His vital signs are improving. He's responsive. His eyes are welling up when we're talking to him. He was paralyzed on his left side, but now he's squeezing with his left hand."

News that "the Big Man" had a stroke was first reported Sunday night by Showbiz 411. In the past year Clemons had both knees replaced and undergone spinal fusion surgery, Rolling Stone said.

The 69-year-old Clemons, who has worked with Springsteen on and off since the early 1970s, is the man behind the E Street Band's signature sax sound, notably on the "Born to Run" album. Clemons recently collaborated with Lady Gaga, appearing on her "Born This Way" album and hitting the "American Idol" stage with Mother Monster.

"When the change was made uptown / and the Big Man joined the band / from the coastline to the city all the little pretties raise their hands," featuring a signature Clemons sax blast in the middle, are lyrics from the "Born to Run" album's tune "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" -- not a hit single commercially but for years a Springsteen concert staple. When band members are introduced, Springsteen always saves the Big Man for last.

Members of the E Street Band had been advised to head to Florida as fast as possible, according to Showbiz 411. Clemons is the oldest member of the group.

"Little monsters, my very close friend +musician on The Edge of Glory, Clarence Clemons is very sick," Lady Gaga tweeted Monday. "Can we all make some get well videos?"


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-- Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen in 2009. Credit: Scott Strazzante / Chicago Tribune