The Band's Levon Helm in 'final stages of cancer battle'
The drummer and vocalist's family ask for 'prayers and love' to be sent his way
The sad news about the 71 year-old drummer and vocalist with the country rock group was revealed on his website by his family. A message to fans reads:
Dear Friends, 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.
It continues: "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 Band released their debut album, 'Music From Big Pink', in 1968, and went on to perform at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969.
Their final show in 1976, which saw guest appearances from Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and Neil Young, was the subject of the acclaimed Martin Scorsese documentary, The Last Waltz. The band went on to reform in the early 1980s, splitting for good in 1999 upon the death of Rick Danko.
Levon Helm won the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album in 2010 with 'Electric Dirt' and in 2012 for the live album 'Ramble At The Ryman'.