Warren Zevon gets Mesothelioma – Throughout his entire profession, Warren Zevon enjoyed many achievements in his music but the same amount of failures. When he left high school to pursue a career, he began creating jingles and songs for various artists before getting the chance to perform in the Everly Brothers in the 1970s. After some travel and attempting to get his career off the ground, he found himself living in the same house as Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, famous musicians from Fleetwood Mac.
In the early 1970s, He collaborated in the mid-1970s with Nicks and a host of other collaborators on his self-titled debut album, which debuted in 1976. While it was not a huge commercial success, the album is considered a masterpiece. The biggest hit for Zevon came only two years later, in the form of his Excitable record Boy, which was a huge success, achieving both critically acclaimed and commercial success.
Following another successful album, Zevon saw some setbacks in his career. The next two albums did not have the same success or recognition as his previous albums. The stress in his personal and professional relationships led him to heavy drinking and drug use. After a rehabilitation stay, Zevon decided to throw himself into the new album. In the 1980s and 1990s, Zevon switched record labels and released solo and collaborative albums with various levels of popularity.
In 2000, it wasn’t until the critics declared that Zevon was due to return with his album, Live Kill You. At the beginning of 2000, Zevon continued to see great success with his second album and performance as a musician in Late Night With David Letterman. As he ascended in the music, his overall health started to decline.
“Enjoy Every Sandwich”
Zevon was well-known for his fear of doctors, leading him to avoid regular appointments. Just before his mesothelioma diagnosis Zevon began to feel dizzy and developed a persistent cough. After suffering from discomfort and breathlessness for a while, friends advised him to consult a physician about what was later identified as mesothelioma-related symptoms. The announcement was certainly unexpected.
Zevon was diagnosed with mesothelioma of the pleural in the fall of 2002, and the initial prognosis was that it gave them only a few months of life. While it’s unclear what caused Zevon to have been affected by asbestos the way he did, his son has attributed exposure to playing in his father’s rug attic store. Because of the extensive use of asbestos in the mid-1970s, it’s possible Zevon was exposed to several locations during his early childhood and later in his life.
Zevon’s cancer was thought to be fatal, and he opted to avoid any treatment. Mesothelioma can be a very aggressive cancer, and treatment has to be equally invasive when it is treated in a curative way. Due to the low prognosis, Zevon was not looking for a treatment to stop him from performing and instead focused on his most recent album, the Wind.
In his long professional career, Zevon was a close connection and a strong bond with David Letterman. It appeared on his show frequently, declaring that Letterman was among his most loyal supporters. Interview with Letterman in 2002, a few months after being diagnosed, Zevon stated, “I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years.” Although mesothelioma is cancer that, even if found early, typically is a very grim outlook, earlier detection provides patients with greater treatment options and a higher chance of being able to live.
Despite being diagnosed with a terminal illness, Zevon remained witty and cheerful. In response to a question about whether or not he had anything about death and living, Zevon laughed and provided his standard quote on the dying process: “Enjoy every sandwich.”
Despite declining health during his final months, Zevon produced his final VH1 documentary after making his final album. Although he originally thought he’d have just a few months left to live, he lived to see two of his grandsons get born in June and to release The Wind, his last album. The Wind was ranked twelve on the U.S. charts, the highest-rated album after The Excitable Boy in 1978.
Zevon passed away at home in September, but his popularity continued following his death. He was nominated for five Grammy Awards, ultimately winning two Best Contemporary Folk Album awards and an album together with Bruce Springsteen. The Grammys are the only awards he has won in his lengthy career.
Warren Lives On
Alongside the legacy of his music Zevon’s son Jordan is working hard to honor his father’s memory in the present. A songwriter and musician himself, Jordan is upholding his father’s musical legacy. Besides his love of music, Jordan is seriously interested in banning asbestos. He is the National spokesperson of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) to increase awareness and understanding of asbestos and asbestos-related illnesses.
Recently, Jordan will be performing at the Miles for Meso event held just a few days following Mesothelioma Awareness Day to commemorate the day and keep bringing awareness. The event proceeds will be donated to the ADAO, and Jordan hopes that events like this will continue to impact the fight to end asbestos and prevent others from suffering the same fate as his dad.