We’ve been and will continue to update this post with reactions from Levon’s friends, family, band mates and fans as well as any news on his condition.
We’re sad to report that the rumors making the rounds lately are true – our hero Levon Helm is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. His family has just released a statement…
[Photo by Parker Harrington]
Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. 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…
We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy
Levon was one of the first artists we covered on Hidden Track and one of our favorites. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Helm was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and underwent many radiation sessions to beat back the disease. The cancer hindered his singing voice, but Levon fought through it and went on to tour and play many Midnight Rambles at his home studio. The Band drummer was thought to be dealing with a back issue recently, though rumors started to spread last weekend that he was on “his deathbed.”
The lack of response from Levon’s camp gave us the feeling, along with longtime nemesis Robbie Robertson having a kind word for him at Saturday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, that today’s announcement was coming.
UPDATE: Barbara O’Brien, Levon’s manager, has shared this note:
Thank you, all, for the outpouring of kindness and love. I know Levon is feeling it and that love will help guide him through this final journey. Thank you for your respect for his, Sandy’s and Amy’s privacy. YOU are truly people with class and Levon would think the world of you. The pain of knowing we’re going to lose him is almost too much for all of us to bear at the moment. But it can’t be about US. This is about honoring this great man’s dignity and privacy. Let’s send him off with love, positive energy, lots of light and words of support and comfort. Keep sending the great posts. I’m going to read them all to him. Thank you so, so much!
Last week I was shocked and so saddened to hear that my old band mate, Levon, was in the final stages of his battle with cancer. It hit me really hard because I thought he had beaten throat cancer and had no idea that he was this ill. I spoke with his family and made arrangements to go and see him.
On Sunday I went to New York and visited him in the hospital. I sat with Levon for a good while, and thought of the incredible and beautiful times we had together. It was heartwarming to be greeted by his lovely daughter Amy, whom I have known since she was born. Amy’s mother, Libby Titus, and her husband, Donald Fagen, were so kind to help walk me through this terrible time of sadness. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sandy.
Levon is one of the most extraordinary talented people I’ve ever known and very much like an older brother to me. I am so grateful I got to see him one last time and will miss him and love him forever.