Levon Helm, one of the founding members of The Band, is dead at 71. His death comes after a long struggle with throat cancer, which in recent weeks had progressed to stage 4.
“We lost Levon at 1:30 today surrounded by friends and family and his musicians have visited him,” said Larry Campbell, Helm’s longtime guitarist and band leader, in a statement to the Times Herald-Record. “As sad as this was, it was very peaceful.”
The news, though expected, is still sad. In recent days, Helm’s family and two of his former Band-mates posted messages online about his illness and his contributions to music.
On Wednesday (April 17), Helm’s family shared a Facebook message warning of the singer’s decline and thanking fans for their support. Band members Robbie Robertson also shared a message about visiting Helm in the hospital over the weekend, writing “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.”
Rolling Stone has a great obit posted detailing Helm’s musical career.