The Band Drummer Levon Helm In Final Stages Of Cancer

Sad news for fans of drummer Levon Helm: The longtime member of The Band is in the final stages of cancer, his family said Tuesday.

“Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey,” said a statement on the 71-year-old drummer’s website.

Billboard reports that Helm’s voice was reduced to a whisper after he was diagnosed in the 1990s.

“But he still continued to sing on albums and at rollicking concerts at his Woodstock home,” the Associated Press said.

Helm’s distinctive vocals can be heard on classics such as “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

The Band’s original members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit