Only a month after announcing that he was taking time off from the band to get treatment for lung cancer, TV on the Radio bassist Gerard Smith passed away today, according to a statement on TVOTR’s official website. He was 34.
“We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer,” the announcement read. “Gerard passed away the morning of April 20th, 2011. We will miss him terribly. There will be more information as it becomes available.”
The band has canceled the next five shows on its current tour to support of their extremely well-received fourth album Nine Types of Light, which debuted at no. 12 on today’s Billboard charts. Smith joined the group full-time in 2005, just in time to record their breakout Return to Cookie Mountain, and his diagnosis was announced shortly after the completion of Light.
Smith was a quiet guy who was passionate about music and brought a sturdy dynamism to one of indie rock’s most exciting, thought-provoking collectives. TV on the Radio is a geniuses-only club, and Smith’s absence—both as a musician and as an all-around good guy—will be deeply felt among the remaining members.
For a sample of Smith’s excellent work, check out the video for “The Golden Age” (which appeared on the band’s 2008 album Dear Science). Smith lends the track a deceptively sinister low end and also wears those spirit animals awfully well: