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The Band's Robbie Robertson Visits Levon Helm in Hospital, Posts Message to Fans

Guitarist Robbie Robertson, a former member of The Band, visited an ailing Levon Helm in the hospital over the weekend.

Helm, best known as the drummer in The Band -- not to mention singer of several of the band's biggest hits -- is in the final stages of his 14-year struggle cancer, as stated by his wife and daughter last Friday via Helm's website.

Robertson, 68, posted the following message to Facebook after visiting Helm:

"Last week I was shocked and so saddened to hear that my old band mate, Levon, was in the final stages of his battle with cancer. It hit me really hard because I thought he had beaten throat cancer and had no idea that he was this ill. I spoke with his family and made arrangements to go and see him.

"On Sunday I went to New York and visited him in the hospital. I sat with Levon for a good while, and thought of the incredible and beautiful times we had together. It was heartwarming to be greeted by his lovely daughter Amy, whom I have known since she was born. Amy's mother, Libby Titus, and her husband, Donald Fagen, were so kind to help walk me through this terrible time of sadness. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sandy.

"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."

Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 but continued to tour and record, even winning a Grammy for his 2009 solo album, Electric Dirt.

Two original members of The Band have already died. Richard Manuel committed suicide in 1986, and Rick Danko died of heart failure in 1999, an event that caused the reformed version of the band to call it quits.

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Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.