TV on the Radio bass player dies of lung cancer at age 34

Gerard Smith, bass player for indy band TV on the Radio, has died. It was only a month ago that the band announced that the 34 year old had been diagnosed with lung cancer:

“he has been undergoing treatment and will be unable to participate in the upcoming tour. Gerard is fortunate enough to have health insurance and is receiving excellent medical care. Already we have seen dramatic results. Combine that with Gerard’s legendarily willful disposition and it might just be cancer that has the problem. We appreciate your concern and support for Gerard and his family.”

Smith was a member of the band for their past two albums, “Dear Science” and the brand new “Nine Types of Light,” released just last week. Yesterday the band posted the following statement on their website:

“We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer. Gerard passed away the morning of April 20th, 2011. We will miss him terribly.”

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. It is a leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers. The more cigarettes you smoke per day and the earlier you started smoking, the greater your risk of lung cancer.

Most people are older than 65 years when diagnosed with lung cancer, although it can be diagnosed at almost any age. Compared to older patients, young patients, i.e. under age 40,  with lung cancer have:

1. Increased percentage of women,
2. Have a longer duration of symptoms,
3. More often have a type of lung cancer called adenocarcinoma (cells that line the air sacs and make substances such as mucus) with lower frequency of squamous cell carcinoma and sometimes small cell carcinoma
4. More often present with advanced disease.
5. Despite these differences, overall patient survival remains poor and is similar to that of older patients.

For more information about lung cancer, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.


Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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