Levon Helm is dying.
This note appeared on his website today.
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
The notice was posted on the website after Helm canceled an appearance at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
It was Helm, a member of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, who helped Bob Dylan "go electric." Dylan signed Helm and his musicians to tour with him, but the folk scene rebelled against the new Dylan. They eventually retired to upstate New York to write new material. The locals referred to them as "The Band," and the name stuck.
(h/t: Rolling Stone)
My dad is turning 70 in July. He and I share an abiding love for The Band (and Dylan). I had entertained the notion of road-tripping it out to Woodstock this summer with him to attend one of the "Midnight Rambles" Levon had been holding in his barn for several years. I am heartbroken that Helm will no longer be in this world, and sad that my dad and I will not get the opportunity to see him together. I hope these final days go easy for him.
Levon always struck me as a great, genuine man, in addition to being a tremendous musician. I thought that came through in this PBS interview from a couple years ago.