Levon Helm being read online dedications while in final stages of cancer battle

This Nov. 27, 1976, photo shows Levon Helm on drums for The Band's final live performance before a crowd of 5,000 at Winterland Auditorium, in San Francisco. AP Photo/John Storey

This Nov. 27, 1976 file shows Levon Helm on drums for The Band's final live performance at Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco, Calif.
AP
(CBS News) While fighting the final stages of cancer, Levon Helm is hearing directly from his fans.

A day after Helm's wife and daughter announced the former member of The Band had entered the final stages of cancer, his manager Barbara O'Brien provided an update: She's reading fans' online Facebook posts and dedications to Helm.

Pictures: Levon Helm
Read more: Levon Helm in the final stages of long battle with cancer

"Thank you, all, for the outpouring of kindness and love," O'Brien shared on Facebook. "I know Levon is feeling it and that love will help guide him through this final journey ... YOU are truly people with class and Levon would think the world of you. The pain of knowing we're going to lose him is almost too much for all of us to bear at the moment. But it can't be about US. This is about honoring this great man's dignity and privacy. Let's send him off with love, positive energy, lots of light and words of support and comfort. Keep sending the great posts. I'm going to read them all to him."

Meanwhile, Helm's former bandmates are offering their own love and support for their friend.

Musician Garth Hudson, also a founding member of The Band, paid tribute on his website.

"I am too sad for words right now," Hudson wrote. "Please continue praying for Levon and family."

During an induction speech Saturday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in Cleveland, Helm's former bandmate Robbie Robertson sent his "prayers and love" to the drummer.

Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, but that didn't stop him from performing and recording albums.

His 2007 solo album, "Dirt Farmer," and 2009's "Electric Dirt" both won Grammys.

In recent years, Helm led a regular series of intimate jam sessions called "The Midnight Ramble" at his home in Woodstock, N.Y. He often had guests and family members join him on stage for the shows, which would go into the wee hours of the morning.

He frequently toured with The Levon Helm Band, but was recently forced to cancel some shows, including an appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival later this month.

The Band released its first album, "Music from Big Pink," in 1968 and eventually went on to produce seven releases, including a live recording in 1972. Helm's voice could be heard on such classics as "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." He was part of The Band's critically-acclaimed 1976 farewell concert, "The Last Waltz," which was filmed by director Martin Scorsese. The concert featured a range of musical heavyweights, including Muddy Waters, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.

Rolling Stone named Helm one of the 100 greatest singers of all time. In 2008, the Recording Academy honored him with a lifetime achievement award as an original member of The Band. That same year, Helm received the Americana Music Association's artist of the year honor.

As an actor, Helm has appeared in several films, including "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Fire Down Below" and "Shooter."

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