Ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist has surgery that damaged his vocal cords

/ CBS/AP

Lindsey Buckingham settles Fleetwood Mac suit

Lindsey Buckingham underwent open heart surgery that left the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist with damaged vocal cords. Kristen Buckingham, the 69-year-old rocker's wife, said on social media it's unclear if the damage is permanent.

"This past year has been a very stressful and difficult year for our family to say the least," she said. "But despite all this, our gratitude for life trumps all obstacles we have faced at this moment. We feel so fortunate he's alive."

Buckingham's publicist said in a statement Friday that he experienced chest pains last week and was taken to the hospital where he had the life-saving procedure. He is now at home recovering with his family.

We can't thank you enough for love and support during this time XO❤️ pic.twitter.com/wgJxDHDlo9

— Kristen Buckingham (@KBChrush) February 8, 2019

Buckingham has a 43-year history with Fleetwood Mac. He helped shape their classic sound and wrote some of their biggest hits.

It came as a shock when, last year, Fleetwood Mac fired Buckingham, a key member of what many consider the band's classic lineup. Buckingham sued, and in a recent interview with CBS News, he revealed that he and the band have settled that lawsuit.

Lindsey Buckingham performs during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on January 26, 2018, in New York City. Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

First published on February 9, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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