The bassist for the arty funk/rock band, TV on the Radio, died tragically at the age of 34 as a result of complications with lung cancer.
At the time the band cancelled their shows in Chicago, Denver, Detroit and Minneapolis, having previously made an announcement about Smith on their official website in March 2011: “Gerard [Smith] is fortunate enough to have health insurance and is receiving excellent medical care,” the announcement read. “Already we have seen dramatic results.
Combine that with Gerard’s legendarily wilful disposition and it might just be cancer that has the problem. We appreciate your concern and support for Gerard and his family.” But shortly after that the following passage appeared on the band’s website: “We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer. Gerard passed away the morning of April 20, 2011. We will miss him terribly.” Smith joined the band in 2005, contributing to albums ‘Return to CookieMountain‘, and ‘Dear Science‘ in 2008, which Rolling Stone magazine named Album of the Year. Lung cancer is a vitriolic disease most often associated with smoking, however, it can also be caused by other cancers spreading throughout the body. According to cancerhelp.org.uk, “The second most important risk factor for lung cancer is exposure to radon gas. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep out of the soil. Other, less important risk factors include air pollution, exposure to certain chemicals, previous lung disease, family history of lung cancer, past cancer treatment and having poor immunity. In some people who get lung cancer there is no obvious risk factor.” Sadly, just not smoking isn’t enough to prevent this disease.
Someone dying in their mid-thirties, with the clichéd ‘so much to live for’ is an obvious tragedy but it’s also a reminder that we should all live as healthily as we possibly can and squeeze as much joy out of every moment of every day as possible. Say no to television, spectator sports, and activities that destroy our health or provide only fake pleasure in faux worlds such as taking drugs, drinking, gambling or gaming – that’s not living. Let’s stop obsessing over our looks and start obsessing over our souls, and like the saying goes, ‘live everyday as if it was your last and explore every moment like it’s your first.’ Turn your computer off now, kiss your husband, tickle your grandma, walk in the woods, play with your dog, pick a peach from a tree and eat it, dangle your toes in a river. Revel in the moment and realise you’re alive.
If I had my life over… If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones. You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies. ~ Nadine Stair