Gerard Smith of the New York-based indie band TV on the Radio passed away today at the age of 34. Just last month it was announced that Smith, the group's bassist, was suffering from lung cancer. Today came news that he had lost his battle against it.
The band posted a brief statement on their website today that read: "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 20th, 2011. We will miss him terribly."
Smith joined the band in 2005, and they just released a new album, Nine Types of Light, last week. While he was never planning to join them on their current tour, they were hopeful that aggressive treatments would help him beat the disease.
One of the best descriptions of Smith and his work comes from Lyle Smith at Entertainment Weekly who said:
Smith was a quiet guy who was passionate about music and brought a sturdy dynamism to one of indie rock’s most exciting, thought-provoking collectives. TV on the Radio is a geniuses-only club, and Smith’s absence—both as a musician and as an all-around good guy—will be deeply felt among the remaining members.
SPIN music editor Charles Aaron remembers Smith as reserved but powerful:
Gerard was a classy, thoughtful guy and he always seemed kind of bemused by the rock'n'roll thing. He hung back, because he didn't write the band's songs, and didn't wanna try to interpret the other guys' work, but he had plenty of strong opinions. And though he also acted like this accidental musician, the visual artist who got dragged into a friend's band, he was very serious about TV on the Radio, and was adamant about not letting people define them as 'black rock' or concede that 'blackness' was the essential quality of the band. He operated on another level.
Here's a video the band made featuring Smith and the other members to promote their latest album, Nine Types of Light:
Are you a fan of TV on the Radio?