Reports have surfaced that musician Benjamin Curtis, best known as a founding member of School Of Seven Bells and Secret Machines, has died at the age of 35, following a year-long battle with lymphoblastic lymphoma. The Oklohoman artist was based in Dallas but passed away in New York.
As The Dallas Observer reports, Curtis was a treasured part of the local Dallas music scene, beginning with projects in the 90s when Curtis and his brother Brandon were members of local rock ensemble UFOFU with Joe Butcher, before Curtis left the outfit to play drums for Tripping Daisy.
In 2000, the two Curtis brothers started spacey alt-rock band Secret Machines with Josh Garza, their debut full-length release, 2004’s Now Here Is Nowhere receiving wide critical acclaim. Curtis left the band in 2007 to form School of Seven Bells with bandmate Alejandra Deheza.
After announcing his T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma diagnosis in February, musicians from Texas, Oklahoma, and New York showed support for Curtis, with such names as The Polyphonic Spree, The Strokes, and Devendra Banhart taking part in fundraising events for the musician.
As theMusic.com.au reports, Curtis released a statement to fans in August, updating them on his condition, reading:
“As most of you know, I’ve been struggling with an extremely aggressive lymphoma that is now known to be fully resistant to most if not all of the known chemo/treatments on the market, and, as of Thursday I’ve just found out that it has progressed additionally into leukaemia with presumably all of the same resistances. Two cancers for the price of one, I guess.
“My only chance of cure (or at least a few years of normalcy) is still a bone marrow transplant, and it has been put on hold for the time being. For now my only hope of getting there is getting admitted into some clinical trials of brand new drugs and some damn good luck.
“Please cross your fingers and toes for me. In the meantime, please know that life is amazing, and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. You are all beautiful. You are all loved.”
Earlier this month, Curtis was forced to cancel upcoming gigs for side-project Cosmicide. School of Seven Bells had previously toured Australia on a number of occasions, including as part of the Splendour In the Grass tour, their most recent visit being a tour in 2012.
(Via Dallas Observer)