Gerard Smith dies at the age of 34

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TV on the Radio musician Gerard Smith dies after battle with lung cancer.

Gerard Smith, who has died of lung cancer at the age of 36, is performing here at T In The Park Festival in Scotland in 2009

Gerard Smith, the bass player with alternative rock band TV on the Radio, has died at the age of 34 after a battle with lung cancer.

“We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer,” said a message posted on the band’s website. “‘We will miss him terribly.'”

Smith’s illness was disclosed five weeks ago, with the band noting in an upbeat statement that given Smith’s “legendarily wilful disposition … it might just be cancer that has the problem.'”

He was diagnosed with cancer after the band had finished recording its new album Nine Types of Light, which debuted at No. 12 in the American charts yesterday, the day Smith died.

Smith joined the five-piece band in time to work on its previous album, 2008’s Dear Science. Away from the band, he and singer Tunde Adebimpe wrote and composed music for The Lottery, a documentary that looks at public education through the eyes of Harlem’s Success Academy annual intake lottery.

The band have cancelled their concerts for the next few days, starting with last night’s planned gig in Detroit.

Smith recalled in a 2008 interview with The Brooklyn Rail, a journal on the arts, politics and culture, how lead singer Tunde Adebimpe discovered him and added him to the band.

Smith grew up in Long Island, New York, and studied fine arts in high school but would later abandon it.

“I had a difficult time, to say the least, toward the end of my fine arts career,” he said in 2008. “I started to look around and see that I was one of the few — if not only — black fine arts students and I saw that again in the art world itself.”

Smith joined the Brooklyn-based band in 2005, and he contributed to its two acclaimed albums Return to Cookie Mountain, in 2006 and Dear Science in 2008, which Rolling Stone magazine named ‘Album of the Year’.

Smith enjoyed playing with TV on the Radio adding: “I just never took it seriously … I never imagined that this would be a position that I would be in.”

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