UPDATE! 10:39 P.M. EST: Walter Becker’s widow, Delia Becker, released the following statement:
“As Walter Becker’s wife of many years, I wanted to share with his fans some information regarding his death that has not previously been reported. I realize this is overdue, and I hope you will understand why. For me personally, his death was a devastating blow, as I know it was for many of you. I am just beginning to emerge from its heartbreaking impact.
Walter died in the course of being treated for an extremely aggressive form of esophageal cancer. The cancer was detected during one of his annual medical checkups and its presence came as a grim surprise to Walter, his doctors and to me. It seemed to have come out of nowhere and had spread with terrifying speed.
Walter chose an intense regimen of chemotherapy at Sloan Kettering though, between the cancer’s aggressiveness and the overwhelming toxicity resulting from the chemotherapy treatments, Walter died less than four months after the cancer was detected.
Walter passed peacefully in our New York City home, surrounded by his family, his music, and a blustery rainstorm ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ one of his favorite sounds ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ blowing outside the window. In keeping with his wishes, he was cremated without ceremony or memorial in New York City.
Understandably, Walter wanted privacy during the course of his illness and he hoped for recovery. He wanted to be able to return to the stage and once again perform for his fans. It’s important to me, as it was to Walter, that you all know he never intended to keep anyone in the dark about his condition. He just ran out of time much sooner than any of us thought possible.
The tsunami of tributes and remembrances that have followed Walter’s passing has been deeply moving. Even his ‘Number 1 Fan’ ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ me ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ would not have predicted anything close to the depth and breadth of public expressions from those whose lives were enriched by Walter ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ by his talent, his kindness, and his skill at inspiring some wicked fun.
Thank you, everyone, for helping me and his loved ones know that Walter’s mark on the world ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ and on all of you ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ will not soon fade.”‘
The co-founder of Steely Dan has died, according to his official website.
Walter Becker, who founded the group along with Donald Fagen, had apparently been very ill and underwent surgery last month before succumbing at some point this weekend. Becker was 67 years old.
Steely Dan was influential across the 1970s with some huge hits that were co-written by Becker himself, including Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, Deacon Blues, Kid Charlemagne, Hey Nineteen, and My Old School.
The group then had a resurgence in the 1990s with several big albums then, too, including Two Against Nature, which earned itself four Grammys including, impressively, Album of the Year.
Becker was seen as so influential for Steely Dan, and music in general, that he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and loved ones — rest in peace.
[Image via WENN.]