The Who rocker Roger Daltrey was in so much pain during his viral meningitis battle that he prayed for death.

The band was forced to postpone a series of shows last year when the singer was diagnosed with inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.

Now back on the road, Daltrey told Rolling Stone he would have “welcomed death” as the condition took hold.

“I’m not bulls**tting you,” he said.

“The meningitis last year took quite a heavy toll on me physically… If death would have come, I would have welcomed it. It was weird. I was in such agony.

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“My legs (still) aren’t good. My feet aren’t good. But I think being able to manage it with the adrenaline of the show, that’s all that matters. It’s two hours of losing myself and forgetting about my feet.”

And Daltrey admits his meningitis battle has made him a better man because he now realises how lucky he is to be alive.

“I got a peace of mind out of it that I’ve never had before,” he explained.

“That’s kind of nice… When you get a shave as close as that from the (grim) reaper… I was totally peaceful, but then it all went, and I felt this very peaceful space… I don’t know, it was weird. That’s the one thing I remember as clear as day, that feeling.”

That peaceful feeling is helping him keep stress at bay on the road: “Any time I get stressed now, I just think of that and the worries go away.”

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Daltrey and The Who have a number of US and European dates lined up for the rest of this year and the band will be among the headliners at the inaugural Desert Trip festival, alongside the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and Neil Young, in October.


Source: AAP, Image: Getty