Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Farewell to Dan Fogelberg

I was very, very sad to hear about the death of Dan Fogelberg who died from prostate cancer a couple of days ago. A brilliant songwriter, Dan gave the world a gift: some of the most touching and profound stories ever set to music.

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Lyrics like these from "Leader of the Band," Dan's beautiful tribute to his father:

An only child alone and wild, a cabinet maker's son
His hands were meant for different work and his heart was known to none --
He left his home and went his lone and solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay

A quiet man of music, denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once but his music wouldn't wait
He earned his love through discipline, a thundering, velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul --
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy to the leader of the band.

Dan was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer several years ago. What is so very sad is that prostate cancer, when discovered early, is easily one of the most curable of cancers. A diagnosis can be made with a simple blood test and physical exam, recommended for men age 50 and older (or > 40 with a family history of the disease). Over the past several decades I've had literally countless patients with a "history" of prostate cancer who had been cancer free for many, many years.

Prior to his death, Dad posted a link on his website--Prostate Cancer Foundation--and encouraged fans and readers to please, please not wait until it's too late.

I am carrying his message on.

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