Chuck Schuldiner: Lust for Life
He called his band Death, but Chuck Schuldiner loved life, family and of course, metal.
By May, his doctors believed surgery was possible and should be performed immediately. Once again, bureaucracy blocked the door to Chuck’s recovery. Though he had obtained medical insurance since his first operation, his insurer refused to pay for the second surgery—estimated at $70,000 to $120,000—because the tumor existed before the start of his coverage. The Schuldiners, having exhausted their funds on his previous treatments, did not have the $30,000 down payment required for his surgery.
Responding to Chuck’s dire condition, numerous artists—including Pantera, Disturbed, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marilyn Manson, Korn and Slipknot—donated merchandise for an online auction to raise funds. Chimaira solicited donations while on the road, while benefit concerts were organized by metal acts worldwide. The outpouring of support was enormous.
Throughout Chuck’s illness, Christy regularly visited, doing his best to keep his friend’s spirits up. “We’d listen to metal together, make prank calls and goof around. We tried not to think about the bad things and just stay positive and think about music and happier things. We would just talk and reminisce and look forward to going on tour again.”
“Chuck was the one who never gave up, who instilled hope and love in those all around him, and he never cursed fate,” says his mother. “After losing Frank, he worried so about what it would do to the three of us—Beth, [his nephew] Christopher and myself—to lose him. I promised him we would do the best we could if he were to lose that fight.”
Although Chuck’s condition improved by November, his weakened state left him vulnerable to infections. Late in the month, he contracted pneumonia and was placed in the hospital. He was released on December 13 and returned home. One hour later, at 4 P.M., Chuck’s body gave up. He died as one imagines he would have wanted, at home, surrounded by his family.
“At the end,” says Jane, “he thanked me for the golden memories of his childhood.”
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