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Bernie Worrell, Keyboardist for P-Funk and Many Others, Diagnosed With Stage Four Cancer

Matthew Eisman, Getty Images
Matthew Eisman, Getty Images

Bernie Worrell — the keyboard player whose distinctive style was a crucial component of Parliament-Funkadelic and has worked with a long list of artists that includes Talking Heads, Keith Richards and Ginger Baker — has been diagnosed with stage four cancer.

The news comes courtesy of Worrell’s official Facebook page, which is managed by his wife Judie and brought word of Worrell’s condition to fans with a post on Jan. 1. Judie offered further clarification in an email interview with the Asbury Park Press, explaining, “Bernie was first diagnosed with prostate cancer but a mild form, and the doctors said men can live with that 20 to 30 years. Then tests showed fourth stage liver cancer that has metastasized to his liver and the pleural cavities. We are investigating various options.”

As a series of posts at Worrell’s Facebook page make clear, the family is sorting its options for fighting the disease, with an emphasis on avoiding methods favored by the American medical establishment. “We have rejected chemotherapy (at this point) but he is undergoing naturopathic treatment (for which we are trying to raise money), which does the same but without the toxic chemical stew,” reads one update. “Please say whatever you have to say to whichever Diety/Great Spirit/Allah/God/Jehovah in whom you believe — and should Bernie be appearing somewhere GO SEE HIM … just don’t talk about this to him. It is totally overwhelming for him and he does NOT want a lot of emotional histrionics.”

While battling cancer, Worrell is also seeking to raise funds for a new release, titled Retrospectives. “Finding funding for this endeavor has been challenging, as the music industry will usually only fund younger acts,” reads the project’s Indiegogo page. “What we can tell you about this project is that it brings Bernie full circle — from the beginning of P-Funk to this ‘P-Funk inspired’ retrospective, as ONLY Bernie can conceive and execute.”

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