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Monday, March 03, 2008

Jeff Healey has died at 41

Singer had battled cancer since birth:

For a detailed history and reminiscence of his life and career, do click over to Pragmatist's Corner and read the excellent obituary from Vic Demize.

From CanWest News Service:

Guitar wizard Norman Jeff Healey of Toronto died Sunday of cancer. He was 41.

Healey was considered a prodigy and earned numerous Juno and Grammy nominations in the course of his career.

He lost both his eyes to retinoblastoma before he was eight-months-old, but never let that slow him down.

“What we’ve lost is a virtuoso musician,” said Richard Flohil, Healey’s publicist. “He followed his own passion, which oddly enough was not playing blues rock music, but playing classic rock jazz.

“He just cancelled a concert a few days ago in Nepean (Ont.) and we made this very kind of bland, not-to-worry statement,” said Flohil. “At that point, we didn’t want to say that Jeff was basically dying, although we all knew he was.”

The Canadian blues and jazz great died in a Toronto hospital Sunday evening after a lifelong battle with cancer.

Flohil, who had been friends with Healey for about 20 years, said the news of his death will be very hard on his family, friends and fans. “He was lovely,” said Flohil. “He was very generous, very warm-hearted, with a great sense of humour.”

From his 1988 Grammy-nominated album, "See the Light", here is the single that he is most famous for:

Angel Eyes

Early last year, Healey underwent surgery to remove cancerous tissue from his legs, and later from both lungs; aggressive radiation treatments and chemotherapy failed to halt the spread of the disease.

Healey — who was adopted as an infant and didn’t have any information about his birth parents — said in an interview with the Citizen in July 2005 that he didn’t know if he inherited the illness or developed it due to external factors.

“I do not regret the situation I am in at all,” he said.

While his daughter, Rachel, didn’t inherit the form of retinoblastoma Healey had, his son wasn’t so lucky. Amniotic fluid showed that the now three-year-old Derek carried the mutation.

It also wasn’t until 2005 that Healey learned that he and his son were at risk for secondary cancers.

“I used to believe that once they had removed my eyes, that was the end of the story,” Healey said. “I understand now that having this (mutation) in my blood, this won’t be my last encounter with cancer.”

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Blogger enigma4ever said...

thank you for this....I had no idea he died..he was wonderful....thankfully the music lives on...

title="comment permalink">March 04, 2008 2:21 PM  

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