Al Di Meola in stable condition after suffering heart attack on stage

Al Di Meola playing acoustic guitar on stage in 2019
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Al Di Meola was admitted to an emergency hospital on Wednesday evening (September 27) after suffering a heart attack onstage during a performance in Bucharest, Romania.

As per a statement from a hospital spokesperson, the acoustic guitar and electric guitar virtuoso is currently in a stable condition, and is being treated in Bagdasar-Arseni hospital for segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

Dragos Cristescu, a photographer present at the gig, said in a statement to The Associated Press that Di Meola was seen clasping his chest during the performance and “struggled to walk off stage”.

Di Meola’s trio bandmates stayed on-stage and “continued to play for several minutes”, before it was announced that the show had to be canceled.

The guitarist has since posted on Instagram, revealing that he will require “some time off from performing and touring” but reassuring fans he is “receiving the best care possible” and “fully committed to making a complete recovery”.

“I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude for the incredible outpouring of love and support that I've received during the last 24 hours,” he wrote. “Music has always been a source of healing and strength for me, and I can't wait to be back on stage, sharing my music with all of you.

“The energy and connection I feel when I perform are truly special, and I always felt that I can say things throughout the years with my music more than words can express. I'm planning to return in 2024, and I'm already looking forward to making music together once again. 

“Your unwavering support means the world to me, and it's a driving force in my journey towards recovery. Please stay tuned for updates, and I promise to keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, keep the music alive, and I'll see you all soon.”

Messages of support have flooded in from all corners of the guitar world, with Di Meola’s post receiving comments from Alex Skolnick, Greg Howe, Matteo Mancuso, Joel Hoekstra, Rui Veloso and others.

According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, a STEMI affects the heart’s lower chambers: “They are named for how they change the appearance of your heart’s electrical activity on a certain type of diagnostic test.”

The website also said, “STEMIs tend to be more severe and dangerous compared to other types of heart attack.”

Follow Al Di Meola on Instagram for future updates.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.