Levon Helm in "Final Stages" of Cancer Battle

Levon Helm in 'Final Stages' of Cancer Battle
Levon Helm, one-time drummer for the Band and subsequent solo artist, famously overcame throat cancer in the '90s and experienced a late-career resurgence. Sadly, the cancer has taken its toll at last, and the 71-year-old Helm may not have much time left.

His family posted the following message on his official website:

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. 

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

This comes as something of a surprise, since Helm released a live album last year and was playing shows up until quite recently. He cancelled some gigs earlier this spring, but originally intended to make those up.

Helm's former bandmate, the Band guitarist Robbie Robertson, sent out "love and prayers" to the drummer during a speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday (April 14).