As family and friends gather around Grammy award-winner Levon Helm in his final hours, others in our area are praising the Woodstock resident's numerous contributions. Our Elaina Athans has more.
WOODSTOCK, N.Y. -- At Radio Woodstock, Levon Helm's songs are constantly played. But now, his soulful sound with has become more meaningful.
The Woodstock resident endured a lengthy fight with throat cancer. Levon is a former member of "The Band." He won Grammys, was inducted in the Hall of Fame, and even had songs written about him.
"From Elton John and Bernie John writing the song 'Levon' just because they loved The Band so much. They took Levon's name and turned that into a song," said Radio Woodstock General Manager Greg Gattine.
Levon's passion for music drew crowds into theatres and into his home. He hosted weekly concerts dubbed the Midnight Rambles and heavyweights like Elvis Costello would show up. Levon's won the admiration of people in the music business and beyond.
Levon was born in the South but called Woodstock home for decades and made a number of contributions to this community. He was instrumental to raising money and bringing in tourists to Ulster County.”
“He was actively involved with our farmers. Actively in so many fundraising efforts locally to make sure that life is better for other people," said Ulster County Executive Michael Hein.
A few years backs, Levon starred in this video encouraging folks to experience Ulster.
"It’s something that he didn’t have to do, but wanted to do and we’re very blessed because of that," said Hein.
Levon's music will certainly live on, as will his legacy as a man who's kind, authentic and incredible humble.
"The Grammys and everything, getting the industry’s biggest award, never went to his head," said Gattine. "He always welcoming, open arms, (give) a couple seconds, he was always, (and would give) a slap on the back.”
In a statement, his family says they appreciate all the love, support and concern during this time. The family adds fans have filled his life with joy and celebration.