12:44 pm Feb. 8, 2012
The private office of Felix Dennis, the eccentric 64-year-old British publishing magnate who imported Maxim and The Week to the U.S., announced today that Dennis has cancer.
"Felix has been diagnosed with cancer of the pharynx (throat)," reads a statement posted on his personal website. "Following surgery in an Oxford hospital yesterday, all being well, he should be discharged from hospital within 10 days. Following a month’s convalescence, Felix will begin a course of further treatment lasting several months. His chances of a full recovery are good."
While the note indicates that Dennis has given up smoking, there was no mention of how his condition might affect his role in Dennis Publishing, the media company he owns and which keeps an office in Midtown Manhattan to house editorial staff for its U.S. magazines, The Week and Mental Floss.
A spokesperson for Dennis did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
UPDATE: Still no reply from the spokesperson, but the official Twitter account for Dennis Publishing tweeted at me: "Felix has every intention of remaining both Owner + Chairman of the Dennis group of companies worldwide."
Dennis first gained notoriety when he edited the counter-culture magazine Oz in the early '70s. Soon after, he founded his own company of niche publications, including a handful in the computer enthusiast genre. Dennis Publishing soared to fame with the launch in 1995 of the lad mag Maxim. A U.S. edition was created two years later, but Dennis sold the magazine, along with brother titles Blender and Stuff, in 2007.
Meanwhile, he held onto the U.S. version of current affairs magazine The Week, launched in the U.K. in 1995 and in the U.S. in 2001, and added to his small American stable last year with the purchase of Mental Floss.
In addition to his publishing endeavors, Dennis is a poet, and "has continued writing poetry since his diagnosis," according to the statement.
He's also battled a crack addiction, planted a forest and once famously claimed, during and interview with the Times of London, to have killed a man.