Tenor loses his voice to thyroid cancer, recovers and performs

Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti recently came forward about his battle with thyroid cancer. The New York Post reports that the singer was diagnosed in 2005, after receiving rave reviews for his Met debut in "Lucia di Lammermoor."

Filianoti was warned that the cancer might have already spread to other places in my body, and that surgery could permanently damage his voice.

The tenor, whose son was 2 at the time, said, "My first thought was of Riccardo without a father, or with a father unable to work and deprived of his [vocal] gift."

He postponed the surgery a few days to sing one final performance in Rome of a favorite role, Massenet's Werther. The procedure removed the cancerous cells, but his voice was now little more than a croak.

"I said to myself, until I have absolute certainty that my voice is completely gone, I'll work to get it back," he told the Post.

After five months of solo study, Filianoti stepped out onstage again for "Hoffman." For two years, he continued to sing, while staying silent about his condition, until now.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 19,500 thyroid cancer diagnoses in the U.S. annually.