Benjamin Curtis of the New York-based indie pop duo School of Seven Bells’ died Sunday night after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 35. Formerly of New-York-via-Texas space-rockers Secret Machines, who toured with the likes of Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. he went on to form the dreamier School of Seven Bells with twins Alley and Claudia Deheza in 2007; they released three well-received albums, supported acts including Blonde Redhead and Bat for Lashes on the road, and played numerous festivals.
When Curtis was first diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma in February 2013, a rare form of cancer that attacks the immune system, friends including members of the Strokes and Interpol played a benefit concert in New York City, and his Seven Bells bandmate Alley Deheza launched Support Benjamin Curtis, a website that aimed to raise donations to help pay for Curtis’ treatment. (Like many indie musicians, he did not have health insurance.)
“We can’t thank all of you who supported him and his music through the years enough,” the band wrote in a statement on its Facebook page. “You made it possible for all of us, and for him, to see how truly loved he was and how many lives he had touched through his music by your gestures. We will all miss this incredibly talented and rare person every day, but we are fortunate enough that he shared with us his music, and that is something that we can keep forever.”