Lightfoot was about to take the stage in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario, in September 2002. He had just driven from Toronto and told people he wasn’t feeling well when he collapsed in his dressing room. An aneurysm had filled his abdominal cavity with blood, putting pressure on his lungs and other vital organs.

The 65-year-old singer was airlifted to McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. After extensive surgeries, he was induced into coma for six to eight weeks to heal and prepare for reconstructive surgery. He remained bedridden for three months.

“He worked on his album,” longtime manager Barry Harvey told Pollstar. “He had done his vocal and guitar tracks. … Daily, [the band] would take the disc over to his hospital room and they’d play the tracks. He orchestrated the album basically from his hospital bed.”

Harvey said Lightfoot is functioning at “98 percent” and is anxious to go back to work. They planned the April tour, booked by M.P.I. Talent Agency, to coincide with warm weather. The singer/songwriter has rarely toured extensively, and the 10 dates next spring (including Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena and Los Angeles’ Cerritos Center) would be considered his average run.

“(Right now) he’s dealing with a lot of personal issues,” Harvey said. “Being down for so long, there’s a lot that gets ignored, but he’s rehearsing with a band and trying to get back into playing shape and get the band tight again. He may be writing for all I know, but it’s not something I’m privy to.”

The manager said they’ll assess Lightfoot’s situation after the April tour. In the meantime, the Canadian icon is doing two shows at Ontario’s Hamilton Place November 28-29 for McMaster University Medical Centre and the staff involved in his care.

In Canada, the press has been driving Harvey “nuts,” he said, trying to get information on Lightfoot’s condition.

“I keep telling them to go away, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m a Canadian and a die-hard one at that, but we’re still only a 2 percent market here and I’ve done more press in Canada in the past year than I’ve done the past 10 years.

“Everybody obviously wants to know how he is; he’s a revered son of Canada. We may lose focus of that after all these years but a lot of Canadians don’t.”