British songwriter Sir Tim Rice is battling a number of health woes, and has to use a pacemaker to keep his heartbeat in check.

The 69-year-old lyricist, best known for his theatre productions with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, uses the small device to regulate the rhythm of his heartbeat, but would not reveal when he began using it.

He let the news slip during an interview with Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper when the device began bleeping and he said, "Oh, sorry that'll be my pacemaker."

In addition to his heart troubles, Rice also underwent a knee replacement operation in July (14). He adds, "Down to old age and wear-and-tear mainly. It was osteo-arthritis."

The condition damages the surfaces of joints and makes it difficult for sufferers to move easily.