Rock legend Chuck Berry stricken before Chicago show

American guitarist, singer and songwriter, Chuck Berry performs during the "Rose Ball", in this Saturday, March 28, 2009 file photo taken in Monaco. A Chicago fire official says 84-year-old rock-and-roll legend Chuck Berry felt ill and was checked out by ambulance medics at a show Saturday night Jan. 1, 2011 in Chicago. Fire Department spokesman Joe Roccasalva said Berry felt better and signed a release. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

Rock-and-roll legend Chuck Berry felt ill and was checked out by ambulance medics before a show Saturday night, a Chicago fire official said. An audience member at the show, however, said Berry slumped over during the show and was offstage for at least 20 minutes.

Fire Department spokesman Joe Roccasalva said Berry felt better and signed a release after being checked out. Roccasalva said the confusion arose because emergency personnel later responded to a patron at the show who was unwell.

Berry, 84, is known for his classic songs including “Maybelline,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

His agent Dick Alen said he had no information on the matter.

Concertgoer Steve Handwerker said Berry was giving an erratic, out-of-tune performance. While sitting at the keyboard, Handwerker said, Berry fell onto it face first and was helped offstage. He said he went outside and saw an ambulance at the back of the theater, but ran back inside when he heard the remaining crowd roar.

Berry, still in his performance outfit, was standing unassisted and seemed alert, Handwerker said. He said Berry thanked the crowd, said medics put on a blood pressure cuff, and patted his chest.

Saying he wanted to give fans what they wanted, Berry did a step or two of what he called his “heel scoop” move and was helped offstage. Handwerker said he later saw Berry get into a white limousine and ride away from the theater.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

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