Opera singer Russell Watson has been discharged from hospital following a life-saving operation on his brain tumour.

The 40-year-old emerged from the doors of the private Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle, Cheshire, pushed in a wheelchair and flanked by his daughters Hannah, eight, and Rebecca, 13.

Asked how he was feeling he said: “Better than I was when I came in.”

And he was quick to thank his fans for their support. “It has been amazing,” he said.

“I’m just happy to be alive and be with my children at the moment. I’m very emotional right now. It’s my daughter’s birthday, she’s 13, and I didn’t think I would get to see that.”

Russell was first struck down with a brain tumour last year and made a full recovery from an operation – but it emerged the tumour had regrown when he was taken ill in a recording studio last week.

The first operation was carried out by going through his nose, but scar tissue prevented doctors from being able to do so this time, according to his manager, Richard Thompson.

Russell will now undergo an extensive rehabilitation programme, which will include radiotherapy.

His manager has allayed fears that the popular tenor – known as The Voice – might never sing again, but admitted it was a case of waiting to see how his mouth healed before assessing the situation.

He said: “There was some concern because when he came out of theatre he was having trouble speaking, but he’s speaking normally now. It is a worry, but we don’t know how much of a worry.”