Charles Sykes / Invision/AP 1 / 3
Charles Sykes / Invision/AP 1 / 3

LONDON (AP) — Lou Reed's wife says the rock icon is recovering after a life-saving liver transplant, according to an interview published Saturday in a British newspaper.

Laurie Anderson told the Times of London that Reed "was dying" before the operation in April at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic.

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She says 71-year-old Reed is not back to full strength but "he's already working and doing t'ai chi. ... It's a new life for him."

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Anderson, a musician and performance artist, praised the Cleveland facility, and said hospitals in the couple's hometown of New York were "dysfunctional."

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Reed, who has spoken of his past alcohol and drug use, co-founded influential 1960s group The Velvet Underground, whose songs included "Heroin" and "I'm Waiting for the Man."

Solo works include "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Perfect Day."