Sad news for fans of drummer Levon Helm: The longtime member of The Band is in the final stages of cancer, his family said Tuesday.

"Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey," his wife and daughter wrote on the 71-year-old singer's website.

Billboard reportsthat Helm's voice was reduced to a whisper after he was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1990s.

"But he still continued to sing on albums and at rollicking concerts at his Woodstock home," the Associated Press said.

Helm's distinctive drawl anchored such classics such as "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit