Levon Helm, singer/drummer for The Band, best known for songs The Weight (“Take a load off Annie” …), Up on Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, has died from a long battle with cancer, aged 71.
After being diagnosed with throat cancer in the late 90s, news of his declining health was announced via his website on Tuesday. According to Larry Campbell, Helm’s guitarist, who spoke to Rolling Stone, he passed away peacefully in his sleep last night, with “friends and bandmates by his side”.
Helm formed a group with Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson in 1964. The group went through various names before it eventually become known as ‘The Band’ after a tour with Bob Dylan led them to refer to themselves as that name because of the various singers they would play with fronting ‘The Band’.
Helm won three Grammys, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He also had a career in acting, appearing in films such as The Right Stuff and his screen debut Coal Miner’s Daughter.
He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Watch: The Band – The Weight