Thomas Fekete, longtime guitarist for the alt-rock band Surfer Blood, died yesterday evening after a year-long battle with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. He was 27.
Last year, Fekete was forced to leave the band after being diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that had spread to his lungs and spine. Writing on the GoFundMe page that his bandmates created to help alleviate medical expenses, his wife Jessica Fekete announced his death:
Our sweet Thomas passed on last night, peacefully in his sleep, holding my hand. With one last sigh, he let go of the burden of pain and suffering that he has been bravely carrying for so long. I am full of comfort knowing that he is now free, and long for the day I get to be with him again.
May we all carry on Thomas’ legacy by being the very best versions of ourselves for the rest of our days, and do as much as we can to help others in his honor. If we can strive to be half the person Thomas was, this world will be a better place.
Surfer Blood responded to the news on the band’s Twitter account.
I love you Thom. Thank you for being part of my life. I’ll never meet anyone like you again & I’ll miss you everyday pic.twitter.com/LUHQAU1MvO
— Surfer Blood (@surferblood) May 31, 2016
Fekete was an active member of Surfer Blood from the time of its inception in 2009 in West Palm Beach, Florida until his diagnosis in 2015. Over those six years , the band released three studio albums and one EP. In 2011, Fekete and Surfer Blood participated in the A.V. Club’s Undercover series, performing a cover of the Pixies’ “Gigantic.”
This past December, Fekete released Burner, a cassette of solo music he recorded while dealing with his illness. He explained the project via a statement:
Sometime between March and June of 2015 while healing from two surgeries and starting chemotherapy, I hunched over my four track and created this disaster. No multiple takes, no expensive mics, no outside direction…just me in my bedroom with a very cheap, bare bones setup.
Some of these songs reflect on good times, days I’m able to walk on my own, talk, and function like a somewhat normal human being. Others remind me of barfing between vocal takes, wheel chairs, dilaudid withdrawals, and tears, from my family, my spouse, my dear friends. However, like everything in my life, I did manage to find some humor in my situation, and I hope that helps level out all the heavy stuff.
Jessica Fekete invites fans and friends to join her in a “celebration” of her husband’s life on a beach in South Florida the first weekend of July, just after he would have turned 28. Details of the event are forthcoming.