Monday, March 31, 2008

RIP Sean Levert of 90s R&B group Levert

Sean Levert was the son of Eddie Levert of the group The O'Jays and the brother of deceased popular R&B singer Gerald Levert. This was taken from Yahoo! music:

O'Jays son dies after taken from jail03/31/2008 2:36 PM, AP

Singer Sean Levert, a third of the 1980s R&B trio LeVert and son of lead O'Jays singer Eddie Levert, has died after falling ill while serving a jail term. He was 39.
Authorities said Monday that an autopsy was inconclusive but foul play was ruled out.
Levert was sent to the Cuyahoga County jail last week for failing to pay child support. He died at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland late Sunday, less than an hour after he was taken there from the jail, said coroner Frank Miller.
His brother Gerald Levert, who had success as a solo artist after leaving their trio died in 2006 at age 40 of an accidental mix of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
The brothers had formed LeVert in the 1980s with childhood friend Marc Gordon. Their hits included "Baby I'm Ready," "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind" and "Casanova."
"Casanova" was nominated for a Grammy in 1988 for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal. It was also nominated for best R&B song.
At Gerald Levert's funeral service in November 2006, Sean Levert and his father performed "Dance With My Father" and personalized the words for Gerald. The elder Levert's group, the O'Jays, was known for such smash hits as "Back Stabbers" and "Love Train."
Sean Levert found a new third partner last year and was trying to revive LeVert.
An autopsy was done Monday but no immediate cause of death was determined, according to Powell Caesar, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County's coroner's office, but he said there was no evidence of foul play or trauma.
Levert suffered from high blood pressure and had been hallucinating in jail, Caesar said. Toxicology reports could take four to six weeks, he said.
Warden Kevin McDonough said earlier that Levert had been sick and guards were watching him at the jail's regular cellblock because he had been acting strangely.
Sean Levert had pleaded guilty last week to six counts of nonsupport involving children ages 11, 15 and 17.

Family Time, Hip-Hop, and Girlfights: The Weekend Wrap-Up


I got off work, went home, and watched the Memphis Tigers destroy Michigan State!!!! That got us into the Elite 8. Yes!!!!


I got up early in the morning and got my hair cut. Later, I went to a seminar entitled "Making It in Hollywood" that was presented as part of the On Location:Memphis International Film Festival. My money was tight, so I didn't see any movies, but I went to the seminar. One of the people on the panel was the woman who played Gabrielle, the sidekick on Xena: Warrior Princess. There were a lot of Xena fans in there. I thought they would ask a lot of stupid questions about that show. I have my geeky litttle show too, but this was not the forum for that. They didn't, and I was pleased. Shout out to Edward Phillips (director, Grim Sweeper) and Jon Sparks (, who I saw at the seminar.

After that, I went the comic book store, then I went to an audition for an animated film. It's called David: Valley of Shadows. The movie is a fictional story about the David of Biblical times (the guy that slayed Goliath) battling demons. The characters look cool, and my good buddy Paul "P-Dub" West is involved in the project. I read for three characters, but not the one that I was practicing, so I don't know how good or bad that I did. Hopefully, I will get chosen, because the job is paying. Shout out to Janean Farmer, who I briefly ran into while auditioning.

After that, I went to my cousin Eugenia's house in Collierville. We celebrated all the March birthdays in my family, which included my brother. It was cool, I enjoyed talking with my parents, my cousins McKeva and Nakia, and my uncle Eugene Anderson. I enjoyed his insight in to politics and issues affecting African-Americans. I did not enjoy, however, my cousin Kamaria's constant pestering. She's a little girl, but she is a pain!! She tells me, "I don't like you, Markus". My response: "I don't like you, either!" I have to talk bad to her because her mom won't stop her from pestering me. In spite of that, I did enjoy myself.

After that, I went home and tried to take a nap, which I was unsuccessful at. Then, I attended the album release party of my friends the Iron Mic Coalition, or IMC for short ( Their new album is entitled Memphop, which is short for Memphis hip-hop. They don't rhyme about ignorance and materialism, which is a pleasant change from a lot of the garbage in my city. Thet performed most of the songs from the new album, as well as a few songs from their first album. Shout out to Capital A, Chaka, Adrion, Ennis aka Fathom 9, Jason Harris, Attiba, Yasin, Quinn, and Mac. They have a song called "Monday Night" which makes reference to our local wrestling matches and sampled the theme song from the local wrestling theme show. Ironically, during their performance of that song, two girls started fighting!! It was crazy. Quinn (from IMC) started freestyling about the fight. It was broken up quickly, thank God. IMC's music is not about that. I don't know what the girls were fighting about. After the show, Ennis, Jason, Kevin Youngblood aka Ptah Maximus, Sperichal, Cosmo, and myself went out to eat at Perkins. We chit-chatted, hung out, and talked about any number of things. It's always good to hang with the crew. Expect a review of the latest IMC album soon. After all that fun, I went home and went to sleep.


I got up rather late, watched the Tigers beat Texas and advance to the Final Four. Non sports fans will want to skip the next few sentences, as well as those who don't like angry writing. I will now begin. Ahem:

Yeah, baby!!!! Memphis, fool!! What?!!!!! All you doubters, nonbelievers, and naysayers can suck it!!!!! Memphis 4 Life, baby!!! Let's Go Tigers!!!! YEEEEAAAHHH!!!!

Okay, back to my normal blog....

After watching the game, Bryan Newcomb and I went to the mall. I don't like window shopping. It was tough resisting the urge to use my credit card to buy some cool clothing items. I fought it off, though. I also learned that the Game Stop in Oak Court Mall no longer sells used DVDs. Since I don't really play video games anymore, they're dead to me.

After that, Bryan and I went over by boy Shomari's mom's house to watch Wrestlemania. It was okay. Ric Flair, one of the greatest wrestlers in the world, lost a retirement match to Shawn Michaels. Flair has been one of my favorite wrestlers since childhood. It was a little sad. The show was very inconsistent.

After that, Paul Briggs and I went to the Karaoke Smackdown at the Vault on Highland. Shout out to the KJ, David H. Shouts out also to Lauren, April Steele (Is For Real), Lynn Cardona, Edward, Popcorn and his wife, Nathan, and the cute redheaded bartender. She's a looker.

Hopefully, I will snag a role in David: Valley of Shadows. I just have to keep hustling. Be easy, readers!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

IMC Album Release Party this Saturday!!!!


The Iron Mic Coalition

If you like real hip-hop, this is the show for you!!!

The innovative Memphis hip-hop collective Iron Mic Coalition (IMC) is having an album release party on March 29 in Memphis at the Hi-Tone on Poplar Avenue. Please support this collection of MCs who actually strive to have substance in their lyrics while still moving the crowd and rocking the mic. Their new album is entitled The Second Edition:Memphop.

When: Saturday, March 29@ 11PM

Where: The Hi-Tone
1913 Poplar Avenue (Corner of Poplar and Tucker)
Memphis TN

Cost: $5

Also, their new CD will be on sale for $10 (What a bargain!!!)

For more info, call (901) 277-9626

For more info about the Iron Mic Coalition, goe to

Memphis, let's support homegrown artists!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Madness, Karaoke, and Movies: The Weekend Wrap-Up


I got off work, went home, watched the Tigers beat Texas-Arlington. The Tigers played sloppy, but we won by a considerable margin.


I hung out at Comics and Collectibles for a while (Shout out to Sean George and Ron, the owner). There was supposed to be an actors reunion, but it was canceled. I then went to Jordan's Catfish and more. Shout out to Nancy Jordan, the owner, her husband Jeff, and David H, the KJ (karaoke junkie) for the evening.


I saw Meet the Browns with my good buddy Bryan Newcomb. It was funny, a little preachy, you know, typical Tyler Perry material. I did enjoy the movie. Angela Bassett is a solid actress, and the guy playing Leroy Brown was hilarious. The film made $20 million, which is normal for a Tyler Perry movie on opening weekend.

After that, we watched the Memphis-Mississippi State b-ball game at RP Tracks, a nice little bar/restaurant in the U of M area. We began chatting with students that were there. I talked to one female who was Hispanic and was moving to Pittsburgh the next day. She said that she really loved Memphis. I began to talk about the racism here. She said that I should live in other cities. It's worse. I have only lived in the Mid-South area, so I wouldn't know.

After dropping Bryan off, I went to Borders. I used my 30 % off coupon to purchase the movie Go. Its regular price was $7.99. I would up paying $6.11 after tax. I save a whole $2.40!!! Go Markus!! After that, I went home and watched TV.

I am hoping that I will get called to be an extra on Soul Men tomorrow. I have been calling the number and I submitted my info on Keep your fingers crossed, loyal blog followers. Be easy, readers!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

On the Set of "The Open Road": My Experience

Yes, good people, I FINALLY got a movie role again. I was a paid extra on the set of The Open Road. This is my first acting gig this year, and also my first paid gig since the end of 2006. The Open Road centers on the adult son of a baseball legend(Justin Timberlake) who, together with his girlfriend, embarks on a road trip with his estranged father (Jeff Bridges). Lyle Lovett is also in the film.
My call time was 10:30 PM. I got off work at 6 PM and tried to take a nap. It didn't work so well. As I started getting ready, my younger brother Travis Barbee called me to tell me he had a friend that I might be interested in. I don't really like being fixed up, and she's in freaking Texas (!!), but I took her number. Next, my friend Mario Lindsey calls me fussing because I didn't tell him that Soul Men, a film starring Samuel Jackson and Bernie Mac, was also filming in Memphis. I told him that I was focusing on The Open Road right now, and that I had to go.

I made my way downtown. I parked in the Peabody Hotel garage, then I made my way to the lobby of the Peabody. I was directed up a flight of stairs, and I was soon in extras holding. First, I ran into a guy that I was an extra in an indie film with back in 2005. His name's JP. He had moved away, but happened to be back in town when they started filming. When I actually got into the extras area, I saw Lavita Brooks (Tricks, What Goes Around), Don Myers (The Ancient One, Eat), Janeen Farmer (SCJ Project), and Trent Dee (21 Grams, Tricks). Trent Dee had just gotten off the set of Soul Men as Bernie Mac's stand-in. Now, he was an extra on The Open Road. I told him that he was trying to take my title of "Hardest working man in Memphis film". He joked that he still hasn't done 50 indie films in a year like me. I've never done 50 films in a year!! Maybe 25, 30 tops, but that would also include shorts films as well as features. The wardrobe people liked what I had on, so I went to the set.

Once I got on set, I ran into William Westbrook, a local actor/filmmaker. He was an extra on the set yesterday, and he was hanging out today. We chatted until it was time to roll the cameras. I was playing someone trying to check into the hotel. I was actually acting with two real employees. One was a woman named Lindsay. She and I were extras on My Blueberry Nights, or as I like to call it, the last time I got paid to act until now. We chit-chatted and talked about those insanely long days on the set of My Blueberry Nights. The life of an extra is tiring and thankless. Lindsay and I had pantomimed a whole routine. We couldn't talk, so we had to whisper or use motions. If you talk, they have to pay you extra. Also, you become eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG. As we were doing the scenes countless times (they need several takes at several angles to play with in editing), I heard a loud, African-American voice bellow out, "I ain't gone do sh@%!!!" I thought to myself, "That can't be an extra, whose being all rude and disruptive?" I turn around and I see Bernie Mac, fresh off the set of Soul Men. He is staying in the Peabody. I also "worked" with Justin Timberlake and Lyle Lovett. Lovett was playing a bartender. This family came down and they were curious about the film. When we showed the littel girl in the family where Justin Timberlake was, she had to cover her mouth so she wouldn't scream. Wow, I wonder what that level of fame is like?

After that scene, we went and changed our outfits for the "day" scene. I met another aspiring actress named Ericka. She was real cool. We chit-chatted and exchanged numbers. You can never have too many contacts. During the day scene, we were looking at the Peabody Ducks. They actually woke them up (it was really night). I believe what they say about working with animals is true. They were rather unruly, and we kept having to put down bags and stand close together with our legs closed to keep the ducks from running off. They kept getting free and running wild. Also, they kept pooping. My friend Angela (another actress/Peabody Hotel employee) had to clean the poop up a few times. I told her I felt bad for her, but she said that since she works in PR, she's used to it. Don Myers asked me if I thought that the ducks were SAG or non-union. I said that since they lived in a penthouse, I consider them SAG. Quick rant: I don't really care about the ducks. Okay, they quack. They poop. They run around and walk into a pool. Big, hairy deal!!! I have never really had a great desire to see this. They live better than me, and that's crazy!! Okay, end of rant. By this point, it was after 2 AM, and fatigue began setting in.

After that scene, we changed back into out original outfits for a scene that took place before the first scene we shot. Most movies are filmed out of sequence. I hope I didn't shatter anyone's dreams with that statement. I was sitting at a table trying to read a menu. I began nodding off. Fortunately, the scene was not long. They fed some extras and had a few more still acting in the scene. Thank God, I was able to go to the eating area. In a few minutes, the other extras came back, and we were wrapped. We all said our goodbyes, and I felt good. I was explaining to Lavita and Trent how I begin to lose confidence when I am inactive. I said something about having to do a "Rocky" montage to pep myself up. Trent told me to call him. I don't think I will. My sensitive ears can't take that much profanity. I feel good, though. Longtime blog readers know that Markus was going through a slump. The slump is over. I have acted and gotten paid. Oh, the swagger is coming back, people!! Of course, I only got a few hours sleep before I had to go to work on Thursday. By the grace of God, I made it through. I then went home and instantly crashed until 1 AM this morning. We have to make sacrifices for the dream, people. Hopefully, this will result in a few more roles for me this year. I have another credit and a nice little paycheck. Be easy, readers!!!

PS Shout out to local filmmaker Robert Saba (Delusions) who was working behind the scenes. It's always good to see local people working as crew.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

RIP Arthur Clarke, Science-Fiction Author

I got this off of

By Simon Gardner Tue Mar 18, 8:29 PM ET
COLOMBO (Reuters) - Pioneering science fiction writer and visionary Arthur C. Clarke, best known for his work on the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90.
He died of heart failure doctors linked to the post-polio syndrome that had kept him wheelchair-bound for years.
Marking his "90th orbit of the sun" in December, the prolific British-born author and theorist made three birthday wishes: For E.T. to call, for man to kick his oil habit and for peace in Sri Lanka.
Clarke was born in England on December 16, 1917, and served as a radar specialist in the Royal Air Force during World War Two.
He was one of the first to suggest the use of satellites orbiting the earth for communications, and in the 1940s forecast that man would reach the moon by the year 2000 -- an idea experts at first dismissed as rubbish.
When Neil Armstrong landed in 1969, the United States said Clarke "provided the essential intellectual drive that led us to the moon."
Clarke wrote more than 80 books and 500 short stories and articles, and wanted to be remembered foremost as a writer.
Trained as a scientist, he was renowned for basing his work on scientific fact and theory rather than pure fiction and for keeping humanity at the heart of his technological visions.
In 1964, he started to work with the film maker Stanley Kubrick on the script of a groundbreaking film which was to win audiences and accolades far wider than those of most previous science fiction -- "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Based loosely on a short story he had written in 1948, it dealt poetically with themes of human evolution, technology and consciousness and came to be regarded by many as one of the greatest films ever made.
Clarke, one of the most prolific authors of his genre, was the last surviving member of a group of science-fiction writers known as the "Big Three."
The two others were the Russian-born Isaac Asimov, who died in 1992, and Robert A. Heinlein, a Missouri native who died in 1988.
"The thing about Clarke is he had this footprint lasting 60 years with a constant stream of publications," said Russell Galen, his New York-based literary agent for more than 30 years.
"So he has a kind of stature from his long influence that puts him in a unique, elite group."
Clarke had been working on the idea of a "space elevator."
"The golden age of space is only just beginning," Clarke forecast.
"Over the next 50 years, thousands of people will travel to earth orbit and then to the moon and beyond. Space travel and space tourism will one day become almost as commonplace as flying to exotic destinations on our own planet."
(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles

Monday, March 17, 2008

Funerals, Dancing, and Sweet Sixteen: The Weekend Wrap-up


I got off work, ran some errands, and chilled out,


I got my hair cut at 6 in the morning. I found an African-American barber in my neighborhood. Thank goodness!! I also ran some more errands, then I went home and watched the Memphis Tigers destroy Tulsa and win the Confrence USA Tournament. Yeah, baby!!! After that, my brother and I went to my cousin Rosie's funeral. I saw my high school buddy Keith Mayo for the first time in a long time. Rosie went to the church that I was baptized in. The former pastor of the church (and the guy that baptized me), Minister O.D.Crutcher, spoke. I learned that Rosie's daughter, Wysteria, is engaged. I saw her son Robert for the first time in years. He lives in Nashville now. I saw all kinds of faces from my past. It was a bit surreal. Rosie's children released pink balloons into the air at her burial site. It was very touching.

After that, I went back home and crashed for a few hours. I went to a dance party at the Vault on Highland. I danced the night away. Shout out to the organizers, April Steele and Lauren. They had their laptop full of good songs from itunes. Shout out to Sean George, Curt Franklin, Chris Haley, Doyle, Scoop, and the rest of the crew. I had a crazy incident, though. This one girl dragged me onto the dance floor. I was trying to keep up, but I had been up since 4 AM. She was saying stuff like, "I know you can dance faster than this, you're Black!(not cool)" I tried to explain to her that I was tired. In her drunken stupor, I believe she thought I was dissing her. I tried to reassure her by saying "You're great, but I suck" and "I'm sorry", but I don't think I got through to her. Wow, even my drunken encounters with women end badly. Does anyone have Hitch's number? In spite of that, I had a good time, though.


I got up, watched some DVR, and chilled out. I went to Comics and Collectibles and got my weekly stash of comic awesomeness, then I went back home and tried to nap. I was invited to the Sweet Sixteen party of Ashley Nikita, Keenon Nikita's (director, Just the Two of Us) daughter. Keenon had step team and several musical acts. It was at the New Daisy theater. The step team was awesome, but I only was one act. There were some sound issues, so the Movement, which includes my the rapper Slim Riggs (a buddy of mine), could not perform. I was getting sleepy and the "popular" hip-hop started boring me. Hey, the kids love it. Souljah Boy Tell 'Em, or something like that. "Hater, you just mad 'cause I got me some Bathing Apes" is a line from one of his songs. No, I'm just mad about your lack of grammar skills. Anyway, I made sure Ashely got her gift from me, and I exited the party. Shout out to Rod Pitts who was filming the event. Shout out to THE Travis Stone who was also there.

As usual, I crammed WAY too much into the weekend. Fortunately, I have nothing on the agenda for tonight. Markus needs sleepy time. Be easy, readers!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

RIP Dave Stevens, creator of The Rocketeer

As a geek in general, and a huge comic book geek, I had to note the passing of Dave Stevens, creator of The Rocketeer. This is from

Newsarama has learned via a close friend of the artist’s that Dave Stevens died last evening of complications due to leukemia, with which he had battled for many years. He was 52 years old.

Born in Lynwood, CA on July 29th, 1955, Stevens is best known for his work on his creator-owned The Rocketeer, which was first published in as a backup in Mike Grell’s Starslayer in 1982. Stevens’ style, which was wholly his own, but owed much to pulp artists of the earlier part of the 20th century was loved by his many fans, while his story merged the pulp sensibility with a modern sensibility. Stevens’ first professional comic work was inking Russ Manning’s pencils for the daily Tarzan comic strip starting in 1975. Dave always kept at least one finger in comics while he was working on storyboards or animation, providing covers for Comico’s Jonny Quest series or other work. The Rocketeer appeared in small installments throughout 1982 to 1995, and was turned into a film in 1991 by Walt Disney Pictures. The comic book version, in its way helped usher in the re-popularization of Bettie Page.

There are no plans for a public service.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Snow, Sadness, and Karaoke: The Weekend Wrap-Up


I left work early due to the snow here in Memphis, and I chilled out in front of the boob tube. My mom called me telling me that my cousin Rosie was in the hospital and that she was on a respirator. Things were not looking good.


I chilled out most of the day. I got a call from an old high school friend of mine, Keith Mayo. He got mu number from my mom at the hospital where my cousin Rosie was. It was good to hear from him. I went out for a second, to Chick-Fil-A. I was headed to the movies when I saw that the Hollywood Video on Stage Road (Hwy 64) was having a going out of business sale. I bought Slam, one of my favorite films, for $4.99. I bought another film for $2.99. I won't say the title because it may be a future gift for someone. After that, I called it a night.


I chilled out most of the day (again), but around 3:00 my brother told me that he had gotten the phone call that I was expecting: That cousin Rosie had passed. I was a little messed up. I had thought about aborting my plans to go to Karaoke Smackdown at the Vault and do my Biggie Tribute (Rapper Notorious BIG also died on March 9). My big bro encouraged me to go. I did, I had fun. Shout out to the KJ David H, Joe, Sean George, Curt, April Steele, "The" Chris Haley, and Addison. Extra special shout out to Lynn Cardona and her boyfriend, Edward. I hadn't seen them since last year. Lynn's a phenomenal singer. She has an album out and a myspace: . She rocks!!! I had a good time. I am a little tired at work today, but it's worth it. Karaoke Smackdown rules!!! If you're in the Memphis area, check it out every Thursday and Sunday:

My cousin will probably be funeralized on Saturday. It will be nice to see some of my family again, even though it is under crappy circumstances. Be easy, readers!!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Movies, Birthdays, and Hoops, the Thursday-Sunday Wrap-Up


I saw an advance screening of The Bank Job. It starred Jason Statham (The Italian Job, The Transporter) ans some former English model named Saffron Burrows. It was well-written, and, as the name implies, it is about a bank heist, one of the most successful bank heists ever committed in England. This is one of the more decent scripts that I've seen Statham in. Shout out to Dedrick Bullard (Eat, Curbside Confessions), a local actor who also attended the screening. I hadn't seen him since last year.


I got off work, hung out at home, and read Entertainment Weekly. One wild night.


I got my hair cut, went to the Comics and Collecitbles, and geeked out for a few hours. Next, I went home and my bro and his friends watched the Tigers beat Southern Misissippi. It was a tough game, but the Tigers hung in there.

Next, I celebrated the birthdays of three of my friends: Nick Jones, Denna Greer, and Courtney Wright. I bought Courtney the latest CD by this soul singer named Ledisi (recently nominated for Best New Artist Grammy), I bought Nick the movie Rebound on DVD, and I bought Denna DVDs of Lost in Translation, Breakin, and Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. Classic stuff, man!! We ate at Casa Mexicana on Hacks Cross. Shout out to Shomari, Terra, Jamaica, Donovan, and the rest of my crew. Afterwards, we watched Semi-Pro. It was okay. It wasn't as funny as Will Ferrell's other films, like Talladega Nights, but it did have some hilarious moments.


I hung out at home, where my bro, his friends, and I watched the Lakers beat the Mavericks in overtime. That was great!! Kobe Bryant is phenomenal!! We also watched the Tennessee Vols win in basketball (BOOO!).

Later, I went out, got some food, and watched Sweeney Todd at the discount Bartlett 10 theatre. It was good, but very gothic and graphic. Johnny Depp played the title character, a man who was run out of town by a corrupt judge that attacked his wife and stole their child. He comes back years later under a new name for revenge. Tim Burton directed it, so you know it was creepy. I don't think I'll be getting any shaves from barbers for awhile. That was a graphic, bloody movie. The music was good, though. That may be the most violent musical I've seen in my life.

Later, I went home and FINALLY finished watching the latest Shawn Michaels (WWE wrestler) DVD. I am now on my next Christmas gift, About a Boy. So far, it looks interesting. Be easy, readers!!!

RIP guitarist Jeff Healey

Blind guitarist Jeff Healey dies at 41
2 hours, 58 minutes ago
TORONTO - Blind rock and jazz musician Jeff Healey has died after a lifelong battle against cancer. He was 41.
Healey died Sunday evening in a Toronto hospital, said bandmate Colin Bray, who was in the room with Healey's family when the guitarist died.
The Grammy-nominated Healey rose to stardom as the leader of the Jeff Healey Band, a rock-oriented trio that gained international acclaim and platinum record sales with the 1988 album "See the Light." The album included the hit single "Angel Eyes."
Healey had battled cancer since age 1, when a rare form of retinal cancer known as Retinoblastoma claimed his eyesight.
Due to his blindness, Healey taught himself to play guitar by laying the instrument across his lap.
His unique playing style, combined with his blues-oriented vocals, earned him a reputation as a teenage musical prodigy. He shared stages with George Harrison, B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Bray said he and many others expected the guitarist to rally from this latest illness.
"I don't think any of us thought this was going to happen," Bray said. "We just thought he was going to bounce back as he always does."
Healey had undergone numerous operations in recent years to remove tumors from his lungs and leg.
Bray and fellow bandmate Gary Scriven remembered their frontman as a musician of rare abilities with a generous nature and wicked sense of humor.
Healey's true love was jazz, the genre that dominated his three most recent albums.
His love of jazz led him to host radio shows in Canada where he spun long-forgotten numbers from his personal collection of over 30,000 vinyl records.
His death came weeks before the release of his first rock album in eight years.
"Mess of Blues" is slated for a North American release on April 22.
He is survived by his wife, Christie, and two children.