On Monday, we saw her cook up a storm in the Celebrity Masterchef kitchen. But former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh is now up against something much scarier than a couple of reality TV judges.

The two-time Irish song contest veteran is facing a big health scare due to an enlarged thyroid, and is scheduled for an operation later this month. Worryingly, the procedure may result in the loss of her singing voice all together.

Speaking with The Irish Times, Niamh freely admits that she’s anxious.

It’s a pivotal moment for someone like me because singing is my career and part of who I am because I have sung my whole life.

People started noticing that something was off with the powerhouse vocalist during a guest appearance on last weekend’s The Ray D’Arcy Show, where a clear lump was visible on her neck. This concerned viewers, especially those in the medical profession.

Niamh Kavanagh on The Ray D’Arcy Show

The “It’s For You” star explained to the newspaper how she’s had the condition for almost half her life.

I have an enlarged thyroid or a ‘goitre’, and I’ve had it for a very long time. I first became aware of it in my 20s and it was small so you wouldn’t have really seen it. At this point it has become quite enlarged and we decided to delay the operation on it because it could effect my singing voice – so we waited for as long as it was safe to do so.

It’s clear that this might have a bigger impact than anyone could fathom. Not only is she in danger of losing her voice, but the thyroid is also obstructing the singer’s airways.

There’s a small possibility that I’ll end up with hoarse-voice syndrome. There is a 20 per cent chance that damage can be caused to the two nerves that run perpendicular to the neck, which help you change pitch. If they get damaged, you really struggle with your voice.

If you can’t change the pitch of your voice, then that means from a singer’s point of view that you can’t follow a tune. It would be the end of singing for me.

In addition to the risky operation, Niamh will be on medication for the rest of her life.

The operation won’t have any impact on her Celebrity Masterchef stint as the show was pre-recorded in 2016.

Disturbing news indeed, and hopefully Niamh will recover in full after this difficult operation. The wiwibloggs team wishes her the very best and we’re crossing our fingers for a speedy recovery.

Ireland at Eurovision

While Ireland is well known for their dream run of four wins in five years in the mid 1990s (including Niamh’s 1993 victory), their recent Eurovision entries haven’t been as successful.

In the past decade, Jedward have given Ireland its best results, placing eighth in 2011 and 19th in 2012. Ireland has otherwise placed last in the grand final twice and failed to qualify for the final five times.

Most recently, broadcaster RTÉ took a break from their usual Eurosong national final and internally selected former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne. His upbeat song “Sunlight” wasn’t a hit with viewers, and placed only 15th in its semi-final.

Last month Irish broadcaster RTE revealed that music mogul Louis Walsh had handpicked former Hometown member Brendan Murray to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2017.

His song has yet to be chosen, with Walsh publicly declaring his wish for Johnny Logan to write it. Logan won the contest as singer in 1980 with “What’s Another Year” and in 1987 with “Hold Me Now” — a song he wrote himself. In 1992 he penned Linda Martin’s winning number “Why Me”.

FOLLOW ALL our IRELAND EUROVISION 2017 NEWS.

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Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

The performance elevated the song, true, but that was also the case with runner-up Sonia. The live orchestra coupled with charismatic vocalists really lifted both songs, I think…the studio recording of Better The Devil You Know is dreadful. Also the English language factor, of course, if “Vrede” had been in English who knows what the result would have been? Then again, the English language version of Vrede is somewhat bizzare.

I still maintain that Ireland was a worthy winner.

Charles
Charles
4 years ago

@Jonas: She was a powerhouse vocalist that night in 1993 and she showed that in her performance … but again that does not mean she had really the best song … in comparison with Norway or The Netherlands … she won clearly due to her vocal abilities and that I can’t even deny. And considering that for a whole decade televoters never voted on the best song but yes on the best entertaining piece of rubbish to get the most popularity for reasons beyond my understanding … I can’t blame the juries in 1993 to actually ignore the songs qualities… Read more »

Charles
Charles
4 years ago

The sound of silence? Really? Wasn’t there any shadier way to address such a concerning issue? I don’t think even Simon or Garfunkel would shade something like this … and if that wasn’t shade and if it was not meant to joke anything … try to choose wiser words for the headlines. There are fans here whose mothers also suffer from thyroid. They may be way too distracted by Lithuania’s Lolita Zero to even share such issue, but nonetheless the issue is there is requires out utmost respect.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
4 years ago

Best of luck with the operation. x

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

The juries disagreed with you, nn.

As for the song, Niamh’s wonderful powerhouse performance is what made it a winner.

nn
nn
4 years ago

She is good singer, but she didn t deserved to won in 1993 , many countries had better song that year from Ireland, first Swtizerland, than The Netherlands, France, Greece…

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

It would be simply heartbreaking if Niamh couldn’t sing anymore. She’s one of my favourite Eurovision winners ever.

sufle
sufle
4 years ago

I wish her a speedy and good recovery. She is a fantastic singer and it would be a shame if she is not allowed to sing anymore… 🙁

Colin
Colin
4 years ago

Wishing the best to talented and lovely Niamh. Please recover, world needs your angelic voice.

ESCFan
ESCFan
4 years ago

:'(

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

How awful. I hope all goes well, and she makes a full and speedy recovery. Her voice really is sensational and to lose it would be heartbreaking, but obviously her health must come first. Best wishes.