Levon Helm, former drummer for the Band, is in the final stages of his battle with cancer, according to a note posted on his official website. The legendary musician, whose voice gave life to classic songs such as 'The Weight,' 'Up on Cripple Creek' and 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,' was thought to be recovered after a decade-old battle with the disease.

Helms endured a 1998 surgery and grueling series of treatments for throat cancer, and after a long recovery was able to sing well enough to perform again, eventually releasing the critically-acclaimed 2007 album 'Dirt Farmer.' He has since maintained a steady schedule of live performances and record releases, although in recent weeks many of his scheduled concerts were cancelled.

Robbie Robertson, Helms' former bandmate, sent a message of "love and prayers" out to Helm during a speech at the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony over the weekend, prompting further speculation as to the drummer's health. Sadly, it appears there is indeed reason to be concerned.

Here is the full statement as posted by Helm's family:


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

Watch the Band Perform 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' from 'The Last Waltz'

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