Robbie Robertson sent “love and prayers” to his former bandmate Levon Helm during a speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night. The remark has caused many fans to speculate about Helm’s health. Robertson and Helm have been at odds since The Band split in the late ‘70s—Helm’s feelings toward Robertson even pushed the drummer to sit out The Band’s 1994 Rock Hall induction ceremony.
Helm has been ailing for the past few weeks. The Band co-founder underwent a medical procedure earlier this year but was well enough to perform in March. Helm’s health was called into question once again last week when he postponed a series of shows due to a slipped disc in his back. Despite issuing a statement last week saying his health was otherwise “excellent,” Helm also cancelled his performances this past weekend. In other news, fans who purchased tickets to one of those postponed shows received a message stating, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Levon Helm band show slated for April 6th at The Wellmont Theatre, will not be re-scheduled. Levon and the band thank everyone for their continued support and are truly sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused.”
Helm’s high profile 72st birthday concert in Kingston, NY was also recently removed from his website. In addition, noted music talk show personality Matt Pinfield tweeted, “The [RnR HOF ceremony’s] memorial is starting now with who died this year and both Levon Helm of the Band and Robin.Gibb are on their death beds tonight” (though the legitimacy of Pinfield’s knowledge of Helm’s health has since been called into question).
As of press time, Helm’s camp has not issued any additional statements about the drummer’s health and the severity of his health issues are not known.
Click here to read the 2009 Relix feature on Helm.