20 Apr 2012

The Band's Levon Helm dies at 71

7:36 pm on 20 April 2012

Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the American group The Band, has died of cancer at the age of 71.

His manager, Barbara O'Brien, says he died at a hospital in New York City surrounded by family, friends and band mates. The Arkansas-born musician had been diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998.

The Band - originally known as Levon and the Hawks - backed Bob Dylan during his tours in the mid-1960s before debuting in their own right in 1968 with the album Music From Big Pink.

Helm's southern-inflected singing style carried the vocals on several of their standout songs, including The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

Their last live performance was filmed by Martin Scorsese in 1976 for the film The Last Waltz.

They briefly reunited in the 1980s, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Helm also toured with Ringo Starr's All Starr Band in the 1980s.