July 15, 2008 / 1:33 AM / 10 years ago

Village People singer leaves hospital after surgery

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Victor Willis, the original lead singer of disco-era band the Village People, was released from a San Diego hospital on Monday after vocal cord surgery and said he could resume singing within months.

Victor Willis, the original lead singer for the disco-era band Village People, is shown in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters July 14, 2008. REUTERS/victorwillisworld.com/Handout

“I feel great and look forward to performing before the end of the year, but I can’t say for sure,” Willis said in a statement.

His doctors have told him he cannot sing for 90 days, but he has resumed talking, and his speaking voice “sounds almost normal,” his spokeswoman Linda Smith, said.

The Village People, a group of men dressed as such characters as a construction worker, American Indian and military man, helped define disco music in the late 1970s.

Willis, who originally dressed as a policeman, wrote and sang hits such as “Y.M.C.A” and “Macho Man,” but he left the group in 1980. He returned only for a short time between 1982 and 1984, and since then has pursued a solo career.

The Village People originally formed in 1977, and the group has sold more than 80 million albums and singles.

Along with his work for the Village People, Willis also wrote songs for such recording artists as Patrick Juvet and The Ritchie Family.

Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Steve Gorman

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