Using Twitter, the man born Mark Brandon read, wrote: “Looks like the big C has finally bitten. Let’s see how we go.”

“I actually feel OK. Some more surgery in a couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll be ready to rock n roll after that.”

Nicknamed Chopper for cutting his ears off in prison in a desperate bid to get transferred when he had a price on his head,  Read has enjoyed a colourful history during a lengthy criminal career.

He was a longtime standover man and has been convicted of armed robbery, assault, kidnapping, arson, impersonating a police officer and attempted murder.

He spent only 13 months out of jail between the ages of 20 and 38 and in the past  has claimed to have killed 19 people – although he claimed none of them were innocent civilian, instead crime figures who were preying on the vulnerable.

Read has been stabbed seven times, shot once, run over by a car, had a claw hammer embedded in his head, and was made to dig his own grave, and cut off his ears in prison.

He has also written a series of books and had Eric Bana portray him in the 2000 movie, Chopper.