Seventies Musicians Linked by Cancer

CURE, Spring 2008, Volume 7, Issue 1

Dan Fogelberg and Stephen Stills.

Folk singer Dan Fogelberg died of advanced prostate cancer on December 16 at age 56. Fogelberg’s “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne” helped define the soft-rock era of the 1970s and ’80s. Diagnosed in 2004, Fogelberg subsequently encouraged fans to be aware of prostate cancer and urged men over 50 to get screened. After Fogelberg’s death, his wife, Jean, released his “Sometimes A Song” and arranged for the proceeds to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Three years ago, Fogelberg had sent Jean the song and a dozen roses as a surprise on Valentine’s Day. It became a top download this past Valentine’s on numerous music sites.

During a Larry King Live interview following Fogelberg’s death, Graham Nash, of the folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, disclosed that bandmate Stephen Stills had been recently diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. Stills, 63, underwent surgery on January 3. According to his wife, Stills’ surgery was successful, and the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still on schedule to promote his recent Just Roll Tape album in a solo tour this spring.

Country artist Garth Brooks joined forces with Susan G. Komen for the Cure by releasing a special three-disc Pink Edition of his Ultimate Hits album that includes information about breast cancer. Sold exclusively through Komen’s online Promise Shop, for every $15 Pink Edition sold, $10 goes to Komen.

Roy Scheider, who played the small-town police chief in the Jaws blockbusters, died of complications from multiple myeloma on February 10 at age 75. Scheider earned Oscar nominations for The French Connection and All That Jazz.

Pioneer cancer researcher Judah Folkman, MD, died of an apparent heart attack on January 14 at age 74. Director of the vascular biology program at Children’s Hospital Boston, Dr. Folkman established the field of anti-angiogenesis, a theory that tumor growth could be slowed or even reversed by cutting off the blood supply to tumors. Dr. Folkman’s work led to the development, testing, and ultimate approval of such effective cancer drugs as Avastin (bevacizumab) and Nexavar (sorafenib).