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James Moody Battling Pancreatic Cancer

Legendary jazz saxophonist declines chemotherapy or radiation treatment

James Moody

Longtime JT contributor and San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer George Varga reported yesterday that James Moody has announced that since February he has been battling pancreatic cancer. The 85-year-old saxophonist underwent surgery in February of this year, and it was determined that the tumor on his pancreas could not be successfully removed or treated. Since that time, Moody, a longtime resident of the San Diego area, has been resting at home with his wife Linda. He is taking medication, but he has declined treatment by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. His wife told Varga that Moody still plays his saxophone and flute several times a week, depending on his energy level. She said that he also enjoys listening to music and watching TV. “He’s comfortable and very peaceful and happy,” she told Varga.

Varga reported that although many close friends and confidantes knew of Moody’s condition, the couple decided recently to announce the details of his condition to his fans and thereby the public. “We decided to let people know about his condition now, mainly because I felt he should feel the love from people around the world whose lives he has touched,” Linda Moody told Varga. Jazz fans are free to write and send well wishes to Moody at this e-mail: [email protected]

Over the last six months or so, Moody has been forced to cancel several high-profile performances or appearances including a Moody tribute concert at the DC Jazz Festival. He was also unable to attend the recent Thelonious Monk Competition and Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on October 4.

In a feature in the March 2004 issue of JazzTimes, Moody told Bill Milkowski: “There’s an old philosophy, and it’s been said many times, but people don’t heed it, and that is simply this: ‘So a man thinketh, so it is.’ I think I’m young.”

Originally Published