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Levon Helm of ‘The Band’: Cancer Enters ‘Final Stages’ [VIDEO]

Levon Helm
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Levon Helm drummed and sang his way into the hearts of music lovers everywhere as a member of the Band. And while he came into the industry as a rocker, Helm also has a special place with country fans, as he is also known for his country-tinged voice and his role as Loretta Lynn‘s father in the 1980 film ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ which told the story of Lynn’s life. Sadly, after battling throat cancer since 1998, Helm is said to be in the final stages in his war with the disease.

In a letter from Helm’s daughter and wife posted to the star’s website, fans are encouraged to say their prayers and, it seems, their goodbyes, as the 71-year-old steps into the last phase of this ongoing journey. The honest yet graceful letter reads as follows:

“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”

Helm won a Grammy Award earlier this year for Best Americana Album with his May 2011 album ‘Ramble at the Ryman,’ which is a live compilation of his 2008 Midnight Ramble performed at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. As stars and fans read the sad note on Helm’s website, many have been expressing their condolences and honoring the legendary talent that has truly made his mark in music.

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