Mars Williams, 68, dies after battle with cancer
Psychedelic Furs saxophonist Mars Williams dies at 68: Musician passes away after battle with rare form of cancer… and spent last six weeks ‘on the road performing night after night’
- The musician passed away on Monday morning after a year-long battle with ampullary cancer
- He was diagnosed with the rare disease, a cancer which forms in the digestive system, in December 2022
- He is renowned for being the saxophonist of new wave bands The Psychedelic Furs and The Waitresses
Mars Williams has passed away at the age of 68.
It was reported that the renowned saxophonist died on Monday morning from ampullary cancer — a rare disease he was diagnosed with about a year ago.
His family shared a statement and said he was ‘surrounded by family and friends’ at the time of his passing.
The musician was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in December 2022 as revealed by the GoFundMe set up by his family to help cover treatment costs.
His loved ones shared a statement on that same account to announce his tragic passing and to share that he had spent the last six weeks doing what he loved the most — ‘out on the road performing night after night’ with The Psychedelic Furs.
RIP: Mars Williams has passed away at the age of 68 on Monday morning after a year-long battle with ampullary cancer
Ampullary cancer is a rare form of cancer that forms in an area of the digestive system, called the ampulla of Vater, according to the Mayo Clinic.
He was best known for being a member of the short-lived, punk-new-wave band The Waitresses from 1980 to 1983.
He also played saxophone for The Psychedelic Furs for about six years in the ’80s before rejoining the group in 2005.
‘Dear friends,’ the statement began. ‘It’s with great sadness that we send this message to let the many people who loved and supported Mars Williams know that he passed away earlier today after his year-long struggle with cancer.’
His loved ones shared that at the time of his passing, Williams was ‘surrounded by family and friends, both in person and around the world, who held him close, and loved him dearly’.
‘Until the end, Mars’ inexhaustible humor and energy, and his love for music, pushed him forward,’ it continued.
The statement also revealed: ‘As it became clear in late summer that his treatment options were coming to an end, he chose to spend six weeks of the time he had left living as he had since he was a teenager — out on the road performing night after night.’
Remembering Mars: His family shared a statement and said he was ‘surrounded by family and friends’ at the time of his passing
Talented saxophonist: He was best known for being a member of the short-lived, punk-new-wave band The Waitresses from 1980 to 1983. He also played saxophone for The Psychedelic Furs for about six years in the ’80s before rejoining the group in 2005
‘Goodbye to the great’: His rock band shared a heartbreaking post about their late bandmate
‘Those last performances with the Psychedelic Furs will live on with all of the other incredible contributions that Mars has made as a person, and as a musician, and that boundless energy will continue to inspire,’ the statement read.
Williams’ family and friends also shared in the statement that they will be planning a celebration of life for Williams, ‘someone who was a hero to so many’
According to the GoFundMe set up by Williams family earlier this year, he was diagnosed with the rare form of cancer, ampullary cancer — ‘in which a tumor develops near the bile duct and pancreas’ — at the end of December 2022.
He underwent major surgery the following month and had a three-week hospital stay to recuperate from the operation.
In March, he began a six-month course of chemotherapy — which he completed in September.
‘Despite these challenges, his attitude is totally upbeat, and he’s tackling this like everything else in his life — head on,’ read the statement written earlier this year.
In 1955, Williams was born in Evanston, Illinois — where he played clarinet in his youth and later went on to study jazz at DePaul University.
He eventually moved to New York City and started playing with The Waitresses for three short years and eventually The Psychedelic Furs.
On tour: His family said he spent the last six weeks doing what he loved — touring and performing with his band, The Psychedelic Furs
A post shared by The Psychedelic Furs (@pfurs)
The latter group made music and toured together from 1983 to 1989 before they disbanded.
In 2005, Williams reunited with the group and spoke about how they ‘put our resentments behind us’ to get the band back together in an interview with Penny Black Music four years later.
‘I got back with the Furs in 2005,’ he explained to the outlet. ‘We were all older. We had been freinds for so long. We put our resentments behind us.’
He added that he ‘loved’ being back with his bandmates and performing with the group,
In his decades-spanning career, he also played with the Grammy-nominated jazz funk group, Liquid Soul, for about 20 years as well as performed and recorded with the likes of Billy Idol, Jerry Garcia, and The Killers.
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