Gerard Smith, the 36-year-old bassist and keyboardist for critically beloved Brooklyn alt-rockers TV on the Radio, passed away this morning following a struggle with lung cancer -- only a month after the band made his diagnosis with the disease public. TV on the Radio released its fourth full-length album with Smith, Nine Types of Light, last week.
In March, TV on the Radio's website posted the message, "Gerard is fortunate enough to have health insurance and is receiving excellent medical care. Already we have seen dramatic results. Combine that with Gerard's legendarily willful disposition and it might just be cancer that has the problem. We appreciate your concern and support for Gerard and his family."
The group is currently on tour and rearranging dates. Although shows in Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver have been canceled, TV on the Radio's sold-out S.F. appearances on April 29 and 30 remain on track. Smith was absent from this tour run because of his treatment for the disease.
Smith joined the band in 2005, working on the almost universally acclaimed TVOTR albums Return to Cookie Mountain and Dear Science, the latter of which won the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll in 2008 (Cookie Mountain came in second only to Bob Dylan in '06). His playing was an anchor to the band's strange mix of indie noise, doo-wop-inspired falsetto, harmonized vocals, and most recently, horn-assisted funk. In 2006, Spin named Return to Cookie Mountain its album of the year. Reviews of Nine Types of Light in the past couple of weeks have widely regarded it to be the band's happiest, most content-sounding record, with more love songs than anything the band had written previously.