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I will write more later, but I just was informed of Don Van Vliet's passing this afternoon. The phone has been ringing off the hook with people telling / asking me about this. The only thing I've read said that he died of "complications from Multiple Sclerosis" which probably confirms that the rumors I heard for years were true. Though said, I can't say that I feel "grief" in the sense of a close friend who I've been in touch with, because, by his choice, Don cut off communication with me over twenty years ago. So, my sadness was more spread out over the years than an instant blast. I also was not surprised, because I've been hearing of his deteriorating health for years, so I liken it to a parachutist seeing the ground coming: I was already prepared for this.
My condolence go out to Jan Van Vliet, Don's widow. I've never seen a woman love a man more than she loved him. Her loyalty to him was almost astounding and her dedication to his art definitely enabled him to do more than he would have had he not had her support.
Other than that, there is little I can say. We already know what a profound influence Don's music was on the world, and I was privileged to be part of that. My Magic Band reunion appearances were my attempt to pay homage to his music, wit and incredible gifts. His efforts went unnoticed by much of the public, but his fan base, though small, was mighty -- and I had the pleasure and honor of meeting many wonderful people as a result of their dedication to his music, which will live on, along with his paintings and drawings. Hi lived life hard and held back little. I am reminded of the quote from "Bladrunner", "Those who burn twice twice and bright burn half as long" -- And you, Don Van Vliet, burned ever so bright. R.I.P.