LEVON HELM: His Band-mates React
On Tuesday, the family of Levon Helm announced that the former singer and drummer in The Band was in the "final stages of his battle with cancer." The first hint that something was wrong came Saturday night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland when The Band's Robbie Robertson sent out his "love and prayers" to Helm.
On Sunday, Robertson flew to New York to visit Helm in the hospital. "It hit me really hard because I thought he had beaten throat cancer and had no idea that he was this ill," says Robertson. "I sat with Levon for a good while and thought of the incredible and beautiful times we had together... 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."
Helm has long been at odds with Robertson, claiming he and the other members of The Band should be entitled to songwriting credits and royalties.
Garth Hudson, the only other surviving member of The Band, and a neighbor of Helm's in Woodstock, New York, says, "I am too sad for words right now. Please continue praying for Levon and his family."
The other members of The Band were Richard Manuel, who hung himself in 1986, and Rick Danko who died of heart failure in 1999. --Sal Cirrincione