Levon Helm Memorial: Friends Honor Drummer

Levon Helm's friends and family have gathered in New York to honor the late drummer following his death last week.

The 71-year-old former The Band member lost his battle with cancer last week.

Hundreds of friends and fans of the drummer were invited to the memorial which took place Thursday in Woodstock, New York. The location was the stage for Helm's Saturday night Midnight Ramble concerts.

"Levon's friends & fans are invited to pay their final respects on Thursday, April 26, 2012 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at his home & studio in Woodstock," read the invitation on Helm's official website. "Thank you, all, for your kindness and respect for privacy during this very emotional time."

The property in New York's Hudson Valley became famous after many Midnight Ramble concerts featured top musical guests such as Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, and Norah Jones.

A private funeral is scheduled for the influential musician Friday.

The multiple Grammy Award-winning music artist was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998, but entered the final stages of the illness on April 19.

A day after Helm's wife and manager revealed that the musician was dying, fans offered numerous messages of respect and admiration.

"Thank you, all, for the outpouring of kindness and love," said Barbara O'Brien, Helm's manager, in an update last week as she read messages of love and support from fans to Helm.

"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," O'Brien continued. "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," she added.

On Twitter, hundreds of fans, including celebrities, expressed their respects for the drummer.

"Levon Helm- our most positive vibrations go out to Levon Helm who is battling cancer in a most serious way," wrote Band of Horses on their Twitter account last week.

"Much love to Levon Helm," wrote MTV's Kurt Loder.

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