Elton John Mourns the Band's Levon Helm: "Their Music Changed My Life"

The Rocket Man pays tribute to the legendary drummer, who passed away April 19 after a long battle with cancer

The death of legendary rocker Levon Helm has left the music industry and Baby Boomers alike mourning his passing, but one star in particular has expressed his condolences at losing such an influential figure in his life: Sir Elton John.

John not only wrote the song "Levon" (with then-writing partner Bernie Taupin) in Helm's honor, he even bestowed the name to his son.

"When I heard The Band's Music from Big Pink, their music changed my life," he told Entertainment Weekly. "And Levon was a big part of that band. Nigel Olson, my drummer, will tell you that every drummer that heard him was influenced by him. He was the greatest drummer and a wonderful singer and just a part of my life that was magical."

Adds the Rocket Man: "They once flew down to see me in Philadelphia and I couldn't believe it. They were one of the greatest bands of all time. They really changed the face of music when their records came out. I had no idea he was sick so I'm very dismayed and shocked that he died so quickly. But now my son  (Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John) has his name."

Helm, 71, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, was revealed on Tuesday to be in the "final stages of his battle with cancer," and died just two days later on Thursday, April 19. The Band drummer and singer's life was quickly memorialized on rock stations around the country.

His family released a statement after his death: "Levon Helm passed peacefully this afternoon. He was surrounded by family, friends and bandmates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul."

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