Founding Band guitarist/songwriter Robbie Robertson has posted a statement on Facebook about his former band mate Levon Helm, who he confirms is “in the final stages of his battle with cancer.”
Robertson, who has long been estranged from Helm, reports that he visited the acclaimed musician in the hospital on Sunday after learning of the seriousness of his condition.
“I sat with Levon for a good while, and thought of the incredible and beautiful times we had together,” writes Robertson. “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.”
Robertson also mentions that Helm’s daughter, Amy, her mother, singer Libby Titus, and Libby’s husband, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, were at the hospital as well, noting that the couple was “so kind to help walk me through this terrible time of sadness.”
At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland on Saturday, Robertson sent out “love and prayers” to Helm while serving as a presenter at the event.
The two musicians have had a contentious relationship for decades. In Helm’s 2000 memoir “This Wheel’s on Fire,” he expressed bitterness over the amount of credit Robertson received for The Band’s songwriting and blaming him for the lack of time focused on the group’s other members in “The Last Waltz,” the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary about the group’s farewell concert.
Meanwhile, Garth Hudson, The Band’s only other surviving member, also has posted a message about Helm, saying, “I am too sad for words right now. Please continue praying for Levon and family.”