65-year-old guitarist LESLIE WEST is recovering from having part of his leg amputated in an emergency surgery.  Leslie is the lead singer and guitarist of MOUNTAIN.

There aren't any specific medical details, but Leslie's rep said that his leg began to swell on Saturday after he flew into Mississippi for a concert this weekend.

Leslie is a diabetic, so he got it checked out immediately... and apparently the doctors told him that the amputation was necessary to, quote, "save his life."  (!!!)

The surgery removed his right leg up to his knee.  It was a success, and he's expected to make a full recovery... although obviously, he's going to need some extensive rehab.

Not to make light of Leslie's situation, but we can't help the IRONY of the fact that Leslie may have to perform from a wheelchair in the future... just like the cover of an album he put out in 2005 called "Guitarded".

The cover art is a play on the blue and white handicapped parking sign... except that the stick figure in the wheelchair is holding a guitar. 

(Here's the cover.)

(Here's some more irony:  Just LAST WEEK, we did a blog post on Rolling Stones Top 10 Album Covers of All Time... and for some reason I thought of this very album cover.)