Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has canceled a pair of October concerts after revealing that he is battling bladder cancer. In a letter to fans Friday on Facebook apologizing for the nixed Phil & Friends shows, Lesh wrote, “I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in early October, and have spent the last few weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale doing tests and eventually surgery to remove the tumors.”
However, Lesh calmed fans’ concerns by letting them know that his prognosis is positive and that he expects to make a full recovery. “I am very fortunate to have the pathology reports show that the tumors are all non-aggressive, and that there is no indication that they have spread,” Lesh said. “So thanks to my local doctor Cliff Sewell, and the incredible team at the Mayo Clinic, all is well and I can return to normal activities in two weeks from my surgery.”
In recent weeks, Lesh had canceled his scheduled appearances at his Terrapin Crossroads restaurant and venue in San Rafael, California due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Lesh’s October 24th and 25th dates with Chris Robinson were cancelled due to the bassist’s recovery, but he promises “we will reschedule these shows as soon as we can.” Lesh previously battled prostate cancer in 2006.
Phil and Friends seem intent on resuming their trek October 30th with six shows at Port Chester, New York’s Capitol Theatre, including a Halloween night performance just 30 miles north of Dead & Company’s October 31st gig at Madison Square Garden.
“Keep a lookout for a free Grate Room show before I leave for the East Coast shows,” Lesh told Bay Area fans. “I also plan to pop in and jam in the bar before we leave, so I hope to see you there at Terrapin.”