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Levon Helm, 71, dies after battle with throat cancer

The famed rock 'n' roll drummer was surrounded by his friends and family at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Levon helm 2012 04 18Enlarge
Singer/songwriter Levon Helm performs at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on April 25, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

NEW YORK - Famed rock ‘n’ roll singer and drummer Levon Helm has died here after a battle with throat cancer, according to Rolling Stone.

Helm, 71, who had originally been diagnosed and treated for the disease in the 1990s, had recently canceled concert dates and his family announced yesterday that he was in the “final stages” of his battle.

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"He passed away peacefully at 1:30 this afternoon surrounded by his friends and bandmates," Larry Campbell, Helm's longtime guitarist, was quoted as telling Rolling Stone. "All his friends were there, and it seemed like Levon was waiting for them. Ten minutes after they left we sat there and he just faded away. He did it with dignity. It was even two days ago they thought it would happen within hours, but he held on. It seems like he was Levon up to the end, doing it the way he wanted to do it. He loved us, we loved him."

According to the Times-Herald Record, Helm died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center surrounded by friends and family, including his wife Sandy and his daughter Amy.

According to Rolling Stone, Helm had been just a month shy of his 72nd birthday, havng been born in May of 1940 in Arkansas.

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“The one guy who can do any form of honest American music with authority. He can do Southern gospel like he grew up in a church, blues like he was born on the Delta, rock 'n' roll like he was there at the beginning. He's the Delta of American music,” the Times-Herald Record quoted Campbell as saying.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/entertainment/120419/levon-helm-71-dies-after-battle-throat-cancer