Levon Helm, The Band‘s legendary singer, lost his battle with throat cancer on Thursday, April 19 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He was 71. Earlier in the week, his family told reporters that he was “in the final stage of battle with cancer,” and his death was eventually confirmed by band leader Larry Campbell.
“We lost Levon at 1:30 today surrounded by friends and family and his musicians have visited him … As sad as this was, it was very peaceful.”
For those who may not be familiar with The Band, The Weight and Up On Cripple Creek are amongst their most well-known tracks. During his career, Helm earned three Grammy Awards. His first was in 2007 for Best Traditional Folk Album for the album Dirt Farmer. He then took home another in 2010 for Best Americana Album for the album, Electric Dirt. In 2011, he won the same award for his live album, Ramble at the Ryman.
During his time in the business, Helm made numerous friends throughout the music industry. One of those friends includes famed musician Bob Dylan, who had this to say on his official website:
“He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.”
Elton John also had some kind words to say about Helm.
“When I heard the Band’s music from Big Pink, their music changed my life,” he said. “And Levon was a big part of that band. Nigel Olson, my drummer, will tell you that every drummer that heard him was influenced by him. He was the greatest drummer and a wonderful singer and just a part of my life that was magical … They were one of the greatest bands of all time. They really changed the face of music when their records came out. I had no idea he was sick so I’m very dismayed and shocked that he died so quickly.”
Finally, Helm’s daughter Amy spoke out and thanked Helm’s fans on his official website:
“Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration… he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage…”
From all of us here at WGTC, thank you Levon Helm for creating such amazing music. You will be missed.
Source: Huffington Post