Levon Helm of The Band in Final Stage of Throat Cancer

Credit: Chris Walter/WireImage.com

Levon Helm is getting ready to say goodbye. The 71-year-old drummer from legendary rock group The Band "is in the final stages of his battle with cancer," a note on his website said Tuesday.

Helm received a throat cancer diagnosis in 1998, but continued to sing and perform in concerts and on albums until recently.

"Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey," the website note, written by daughter Amy and wife Sandy, reads.

Born the son of an Arkansas cotton farmer, Helm and The Band (famous for songs like "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down") were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

"Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration," the website note continued. "He has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage."