R.I.P. Thomas Fekete

Surfer Blood guitarist Thomas Fekete died last night. Fekete had been suffering from an aggressive form of cancer, and his wife had been chronicling his battle against the disease on the GoFundMe page that she’d been using to raise money to cover his medical expenses. She announced his passing on the GoFundMe page this morning. Here’s her statement:

Our sweet Thomas passed on last night, peacefully in his sleep, holding my hand. With one last sigh, he let go of the burden of pain and suffering that he has been bravely carrying for so long. I am full of comfort knowing that he is now free, and long for the day I get to be with him again.

May we all carry on Thomas’ legacy by being the very best versions of ourselves for the rest of our days, and do as much as we can to help others in his honor. If we can strive to be half the person Thomas was, this world will be a better place.

I plan to host a celebration of his life here on the beach in South Florida, the first weekend of July, just after his birthday on 1st. I will share specific details as soon as possible. I invite anyone who holds Thomas in their hearts to please join me in celebrating him.

It was an absolute privilege to stand next to Thomas and face this monster head on. Even as his body failed him, his mind and spirit soldiered on. Never was there a day that we weren’t filled with hope. Never was there a day that he even considered throwing in the towel. He was the kind hearted, funny, fearless, magnetic beam of light you all knew him to be up until his very last breath.

Thomas John Fekete, I love you and live for you. Nothing will make me more proud than being able to call myself your wife.

Now, my beautiful angel, go find Bowie and jam.

Fekete helped found the Florida indie-pop band in 2009, and he recorded three albums, including last year’s 1000 Palms, with the band. He also recorded one album with the Surfer Blood side project Weird Wives. He left Surfer Blood last year to deal with his cancer, and he released the cassette-only solo album Burner to help raise money for his treatments. Many fellow musicians also helped raise money for him.

On a personal note, I interviewed Fekete and the rest of the band in 2009, during their first CMJ. I remember how excited these kids were, passing the phone all around, extremely excited that anyone was paying attention to their band. I’m not sure, but it might’ve been their first interview. The idea that one of these kids is gone, just seven years later, is hearbreaking.

If my math is right, Fekete was 27.