Published Nov 23, 2009Haydain Neale, the singer-songwriter behind Toronto, ON's Juno award-winning Jacksoul, died this weekend following a seven-month battle with lung cancer. Neale passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Sunday (November 22). He was 39.
In a press release sent out on behalf of the Neale family, it said the musician died peacefully with friends and family at his side.
Neale's illness followed a scooter accident in Toronto in 2007, which caused him to be in critical care for months and temporarily cost him his voice. And despite a lengthy rehabilitation process after the accident, his family maintains he kept a positive spirit throughout the ordeal.
In a statement, his wife Michaela said, "Through all these challenges, Haydain's sense of humour and love of music were ever-present. He constantly brightened the room with his singing and his smile. His joyful presence and beautiful voice will be missed by us all."
Jacksoul earned a Juno Award for best R&B/soul recording in 2007 for their track "mySOUL." The band won the same award in 2001, along with a Canadian Urban Music Award in 2004.
In December, Jacksoul planned to release their first album in three years. Dubbed SOULmate, it features ten new songs penned by Neale before his accident, and all sale proceeds of the album were to go to a family trust fund.
In a recent interview with Neale in Exclaim!'s December issue, he discussed SOULmate and his struggles, saying, "I didn't fully realize that people would miss me this much. It feels overwhelming to have this kind of response and I'm not quite sure how to take all this love in... There were tears, but we fought through together to get the music finished. It's a very emotional time for us all and I am just thankful for every single positive reaction. It's all I could hope for."
An interment with a private family gathering will take place later this week. Messages can be left at the Jackson Jacksoul website.