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Robbie Robertson Releases Statement on Levon Helm’s Cancer Battle

The Band
Archive Photos, Getty Images

Although it is reported that they have endured a somewhat tumultuous relationship since the demise of the Band in 1976, it appears as though drummer Levon Helm and guitarist Robbie Robertson have mended some fences.

As was reported yesterday, Helm’s family sadly disclosed that the legendary drummer and vocalist is currently in the final stages of his long-running battle with cancer. Helm was first treated for throat cancer in the late ’90s and had eventually recovered significantly enough to record and release two critically acclaimed and Grammy Award winning records in the past decade – 2007′s ‘Dirt Farmer’ and 2009′s ‘Electric Dirt.’

In his book ‘This Wheel’s On Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band,’ Helm offers a scathing opinion of Robertson, ridiculing his behavior as well as his intellectual aspirations. Needless to say, this helps make the reconciliation between Helm and Robertson especially poignant and heart-warming.

Here is Robertson’s complete statement:

Last week I was shocked and so saddened to hear that my old band mate, Levon, was in the final stages of his battle with cancer. It hit me really hard because I thought he had beaten throat cancer and had no idea that he was this ill. I spoke with his family and made arrangements to go and see him.

On Sunday I went to New York and visited him in the hospital. I sat with Levon for a good while, and thought of the incredible and beautiful times we had together. It was heartwarming to be greeted by his lovely daughter Amy, whom I have known since she was born. Amy’s mother, Libby Titus, and her husband, Donald Fagen, were so kind to help walk me through this terrible time of sadness.  My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sandy.

Levon is one of the most extraordinary talented people I’ve ever known and very much like an older brother to me.  I am so grateful I got to see him one last time and will miss him and love him forever.

Robbie Robertson

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