The drummer for one of the most important bands of the rock era is in the “final stages of his battle with cancer,” according to a note posted by his family members on his website, EW Online reports. Levon Helm of the Band has been fighting throat cancer since 1998.
The note posted by Helm’s wife and daughter says: "Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey. 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."
Helm, 71, maintained a touring schedule in recent years, singing and playing drums even after suffering minor vocal cord damage from radiation treatment. In 2007 he received a Grammy for his album “Dirt Farmer.”
The story notes: “The Band, which released its first album in 1968, became one of the most influential groups of the era thanks to such hit songs as ‘The Weight,’ ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,’ and was featured in the classic Martin Scorsese-directed concert flick “The Last Waltz.’”
Here’s a video clip of Helm with the Band performing Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” with Dylan and an all-star lineup — including Neil Young, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell and other rock stars — from “The Last Waltz”: