An Indian government official appears to have broken a cone of silence surrounding Elon Musk's health problems after visiting a Tesla factory in California.
In a tweet, Indian commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal wished Musk a "speedy recovery" from an undisclosed illness or procedure that seems to have kept him from the meeting, and said he was sorry to miss the mogul's "magnetic presence" when visiting the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.
In response, Musk said only that Goyal's visit to the factory, which took place during the Hindu festival of Diwali and amid Tesla's push to build a Tesla facility in India, was an "honor," and that he was not "able to travel to California" at the time.
Let's face it: Musk's behavior during COVID made him seem like the exact type of boss who would show up at work with a cold and cough on anybody, including a foreign dignitary. So the fact that he blew off a strategic international meeting is striking.
The multi-hyphenate figure hasn't publicly announced any health issues recently, though he works notoriously grueling hours, sleeps little, and indulges in drugs including Ambien and ketamine — a lifestyle you might be able to get away with while you're young, but that inevitably catches up with workaholics in middle age, like the 52-year-old Musk.
There have also been clues for a while now that he might need surgery. When appearing in court in February over his 2018 Tesla tweets, Musk admitted to an attorney, per the Wall Street Journal, that he was in pretty bad shape.
"I’m sorry for squirming around," he reportedly told the lawyer when in court. "I have quite severe back pain."
In August, Musk admitted on the social network formerly known as Twitter that he was getting an MRI of his neck and upper back and "may require surgery" before his planned cage match with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Just a month later, biographer Walter Isaacson's new book about the serial entrepreneur included the claim that at least one of Musk's physical issues is the result of a decade-old injury he gleaned when fighting a sumo wrestler on his 42nd birthday.
"I decided to see if I could throw this guy, and I did," the billionaire told the biographer. "But I also blew out a disc at the base of my neck."
Beyond the back stuff, Musk's infamous work hard, party hard lifestyle paired with his sleep issues have earned him concern from the likes of Arianna Huffington, who in 2018 penned a since-disappeared open letter beseeching the bombastic business owner to get more sleep.
Though at the time he claimed in a 2:30am response that getting more sleep was not "an option," the father of at least 11 seems to have somewhat taken her advice at least somewhat to heart, admitting earlier this year in a CNBC interview that he now gets six hours of sleep per night and acknowledging that getting less than that gives him "brain pain."
Nevertheless, something made Musk miss the meeting with Indian president Narendra Modi's surrogate — and considering how important business is to him, it would have had to be big.
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