Beloved Austin singer-songwriter has terminal cancer

Local music icon diagnosed with cancer

AUSTIN - Jimmy LaFave, a beloved Austin musician, has been diagnosed with a rare, fast-growing cancer and, according to a GoFundMe created for him, he is hoping to raise money for his favorite charities.

In a GoFundMe titled, "Celebrating Jimmy LaFave," friends and family of LaFave said that he has been diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma.

"At this point, it is clear that Jimmy is not going to be living the long fruitful life that he hoped for and that we would wish for him," the GoFundMe read.

On Friday night, LaFave performed at Threadgill's in front of a packed crowd. 

"I think he's just.... I'm kind of tearing up a little bit.  I think he just means so much to so many people here in Austin, and his music is really relatable," said Patty Springer, a longtime fan who's seen him in concert about 15 times. 

While the news of LaFave's condition became public just this week, those close to him had known, and commented on his incredible demeanor in the face of adversity. 

"You never know about anybody when it's time for them to really call on their reserves what you got. He calmly delivered a message as I ever had sitting right over there," said famed promoter and friend Eddie Wilson. "What calm strength he's displayed." 

Jan Reid, best known for his work in Texas Monthly, first learned of LaFave at the request of a friend. 

"I went 'wow.' I hadn't written about music in 20 years, but I was all pumped up to write about him," said Reid. 

LaFave has performed with countless local musicians, with Reid noting his embrace of the next generation of artists. 

"But he's got an amazing, amazing voice. Good guy. And he helps many younger musicians like people helped him," said Reid.

On Friday, Reid showed up not for an assignment, but as a friend. 

"The solemn part of it is that every time might be the last time you get to see him," Reid lamented. 

Many people made sure to take in each song, each note, each melody, trying to give back to the man whose music has touched so many. 

"It just fills my heart with love to be able to give back to him. We can never give back to him what he's given us...but at least he's able to see," said Sandra Wilson, a friend of LaFave.

The GoFundMe was created after his friends asked him what they can do for him. All contributions to the GoFundMe will go to his favorite charities and be made in his name. Go here to donate to the GoFundMe.

A "Songwriter Rendezvous" -- a celebration of the life and songs of LaFave -- will be held at the Paramount on May 18.

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