Levon Helm in ‘final stages’ of battle with cancer

Photo: Ahron R. Foster

Update: Levon passed away on April 19, 2012.

According to a note posted to his website, Levon Helm is in the final stages of his battle with cancer.

Helm has been battling the disease since the late 1990s, though his health had improved enough in recent years for the Arkansas native and legendary performer with The Band and The Hawks to release multiple Grammy-winning albums and as a solo artist.

Many feared that calls for “love and prayers” for Helm by friend and bandmate Robbie Robertson from the stage of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on Saturday meant that his health had suffered a setback.

Those fears were confirmed by the recent post on his site signed by Helm’s wife Sandy and daughter Amy.

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.

Originally from Elaine, Ark., the legendary Levon Helm spent his childhood surrounded by music. At the age of six, he witnessed his first live show, Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys and was later quoted as saying of the performance, “This really tattooed my brain. I’ve never forgotten it.”

Helm went on to play with the highly influential Ronnie Hawkins and then Bob Dylan before settling into his most famous role in The Band.