Sir Tom Jones at 84: From health battles to unique routines and retirement plans

Sir Tom Jones in a black and white shot from 1964
-Credit: (Image: Mirrorpix)

There's no denying that 84-year-old Welsh star Sir Tom Jones is simply sensational. The man who gifted us unforgettable tunes such as It's Not Unusual and Delilah has been delighting fans across the world for six decades. Sir Tom turned 84 on Friday but despite his age, The Voice's favourite mentor assures viewers that he feels in top shape.

In a conversation with Mirror earlier this year, Sir Tom said: "Well, thank God my voice is still working. I am 83 years old. I mean I can't believe it, but it is true. When I am singing I am like, 'How the hell is this coming out of me?' Honestly. If the voice was not there I am sure I would be going 'Urgh, I don't want to do so many shows' but I love it as the voice is still working!"

However, the singer behind so many timeless hits - real name Thomas Jones Woodward - has faced his fair share of health challenges over the years, including a complex double hip replacement. So, as we say 'Happy Birthday' or 'Penblwydd Hapus' to the superstar from Treforest, we give you an update on Sir Tom's health journey - and whether there's talk of hanging up his microphone.

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Over the last couple of years, Tom has undergone hip replacement surgery on both sides. The left hip procedure took place in 2017, followed by his right hip surgery in 2022. This intervention was necessary as standing during performances became increasingly difficult for him. He told the Daily Mail "Yeah, I can do about four songs without sitting" before the operation.

In 2017 the musician underwent his first hip surgery due to persistent pain, which he described to The Mirror as something he "couldn't get rid of". He explained that a scan revealed the cartilage in his left hip had worn away, leaving him with a "dull ache" and "bones just crunching together".

Last year, while attending the ITV Entertainment Autumn Showcase, Tom opened up about his health struggles and recovery from a double hip replacement, which was necessary before embarking on his latest global tour. The iconic singer shared his ordeal, saying: "I've got to have a new hip. I had [my left hip] done five years ago and it worked great, so now [my right hip's] starting to go! So, at the moment, I'm bone on bone!"

He recounted a conversation with the doctor, saying: "That's what the fella [doctor] told me. But I've got a tour to do in America first, I can't go in now. He said, 'Well, you should! ' I said, 'I can't, I've got a show to do!"

Subsequently, Sir Tom took to social media to express his gratitude for the outpouring of support from fans and to provide an update on his surgical procedure. His post read: "Papa has two new hips now! For all those concerned and who sent in well wishes, I am pleased to report my recent surgery went very well, I'm following orders and doing my physio, so happy to say I will be back soon!"

The renowned singer transformed his diet in recent years, as part of a broader effort to maintain his health. He slashed his alcohol consumption and embraced a "caveman" or "paleo" lifestyle, which emphasizes lean meat, fruit, fish, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. During a Radio 2 show dedicated to weight loss, Tom stated: "I was putting too much weight on. I didn't think I was going to and I left the working out for a bit, thought I'd keep a check on it. But with the Christmas puddings and cakes, before I knew it I was 230lb (16.4 stone) which was 30lb more than I should be. I couldn't get into my suits. That's when I thought 'This has got to stop'."

Three years back, Tom unveiled an eccentric wellness practice, hanging inverted like a bat. He delved into something known as "inversion therapy", wherein an individual dangles upside down using a unique framework, during a past interview. In 2021 Tom had a conversation with The Sun about this preventative measure: "In 2030 I am going to be 90 years old. I hang upside down. You know on one of those frames. It's great, you put your feet in the thing and you flip and you hang."

Regarding retirement plans, Tom confidently announced that he doesn't intend to abandon his performance career anytime in the near future. He affirmed he would only consider retiring from performing if his vocal ability began to wane. With his voice still commanding attention, his ongoing role as a coach on ITV's The Voice, and his current global tour, it seems the Sexbomb singer isn't planning to take a back seat anytime soon.

Reflecting on his career, Tom confessed he's always been a natural entertainer and never had any desire to share the limelight. In a candid chat with us, he reflected: "I had an uncle, my father's older brother, and his name was Georgie and he was a singing waiter and he used to sing in pubs so I would go and see him. I knew that I could sing and I was not frightened of anything. [But] I did not want to be part of a choir in Wales. I wanted to show off."

And for the legions of adoring fans, it's clear that the performer within him is still very much alive and kicking. For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter.