Heartbreaking reason Avril Lavigne disappeared
SINGER Avril Lavigne has announced her return to music, some five years after the release of her last album.
And the Canadian pop-rock artist, 33, has explained in searing detail the health problems that kept her away from the limelight for so long.
In an open letter to her fans announcing the impending release of comeback single Head Above Water later this month, Lavigne explains that her well-publicised battle with infectious tick-borne Lyme disease caused her body to completely shut down.
"I had accepted death," she writes.
Having released her self-titled fifth album in 2013, Lavigne then revealed that she had been diagnosed with the disease in April 2015, explaining that same month she was already in the recovery process.
This new letter suggests the process was longer and more difficult than fans might have realised.
"Five years have gone by since I released my last album. I spent the last few years at home sick fighting Lyme disease. Those were the worst years of my life as I went through both physical and emotional battles," she writes, saying she recorded much of her new album from her sickbed.
Describing Lyme disease as "the battle of my lifetime," she explains that she wrote her new single "during one of the scariest moments of my life".
"I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current. Unable to breathe. Praying to God for Him to help me just keep my head above the water. To help me see through the stormy weather. I grew closer to Him. My mother held me. In her arms, I wrote the first song that I am releasing to tell my story."
With a dearth of new material from the singer, media reports about Lavigne have in recent years focused on her private life - from her 2015 split from husband, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, to her Lyme disease diagnosis to the bizarre, recurrent conspiracy theory that she had died in 2003 and was replaced by a lookalike.
Lavigne tells fans that "part of me doesn't want to talk about being sick because I want it to all be behind me, but I know I have to. Because not only is it a part of my life, I need to bring awareness to the severity of Lyme disease. A single bug bite can f**k you up hard."
Lavigne writes that the foundation she has launched in her name is now focusing on providing Lyme disease prevention and information resources.
With Head Above Water set for release on September 19, Lavigne writes that she's excited to "tell the world my story" - but warns fans that she's still on the path to recovery.
"I will do EVERYTHING I can to get back up on stage, to travel, to sing to you, to work again. But I have to always listen to my body and keep a healthy balance, so please be patient as we go," she says.
"I wrote and recorded this album and to me this is a victorious moment. A huge accomplishment. I am very proud and thankful to everyone who waited so patiently and lovingly with me to support this process for me."