Beloved Austin Musician Jimmy LaFave Dead at 61
Austin-based musician Jimmy LaFave died on Monday, May 22, after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 61.
The Austin-American Statesman reports that the Oklahoma native moved to Texas in the 1980s. He remained performing up until days before his death. His nephew, Jesse LaFave, confirmed the news of his passing at his home Monday evening. He was surrounded by family and loved ones.
“It was almost like something out of a movie, but a really sad movie where you already knew how it was going to end,” he tells the publication, “But he wanted to pass away at his house, and that’s exactly what he did.”
The singer-songwriter was born near Dallas, Texas, before relocating with his family to Oklahoma. LaFave played nightclubs throughout Stillwater after high school and slowly began to make a name for himself as a songwriter. He, Bob Childers and Terry Buffalo Ware are credited with establishing red dirt music.
Upon moving to Texas in the '80s, LaFave quickly gained notoriety. His 1988 release Highway Angels … Full Moon Rain was named the best cassette release at the Austin Music Awards. Later, he'd frequent Austin City Limits as a performer.
LaFave dealt privately with the news of a malignant sarcoma that began with a lump in his chest in 2016. The publication reports that he did seek out treatment, undergoing surgery for the tumor and radiation treatment but he later decided against chemotherapy or further operations.
“Jimmy’s very adept at living in the moment, being in the moment,” guitarist John Inmon says. “Jimmy said, ‘If I’ve only got X number of months left, I’m not going to spend it throwing up, you know.’”
LaFave's final concert was in April. He was recently named as one of the 2017 artists to be inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in June.
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