Photo by Zane Roessell
Thomas Fekete, founding guitarist for indie rock band Surfer Blood, has died. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of sarcoma cancer early in 2015. His wife, Jessica, announced via her GoFundMe page that Fekete had lost his battle on Monday evening.
Fekete helped form the Floridian rock band in 2009 alongside John Paul Pitts, Tyler Schwarz, and Mike Mcleary. Originally called Jabroni Sandwich, the indie and surf rock outfit switched their name to Surfer Blood and released their debut single, “Swim”, to great acclaim in 2009.
Fekete remained with the group through an EP and three albums, including last year’s 1000 Palms. However, not long after that album was announced, he departed the band to seek treatment for his illness, as it had spread to attack his spine and lungs. The GoFundMe page was launched in April to help cover medical expenses, and artists including Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices, Real Estate, Cults, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Lou Barlow, and others contributed to a benefit album sold through the crowdfunding website in November. Fekete himself released a solo cassette-only album called Burner to help pay for this treatment.
“Our sweet Thomas passed on last night, peacefully in his sleep, holding my hand,” Fekete’s wife wrote in announcing her husband’s passing. “With one last sigh, he let go of the burden of pain and suffering that he has been bravely carrying for so long. I am full of comfort knowing that he is now free, and long for the day I get to be with him again.” She said she plans on holding “a celebration of his life” on a South Florida beach on the first weekend of July, just after what would’ve been his 28th birthday on July 1st. Details are forthcoming.
“Now, my beautiful angel,” she concluded, “go find Bowie and jam.”
Read her full statement below. The GoFundMe page is still actively accepting donations for those who wish to contribute.
“Our sweet Thomas passed on last night, peacefully in his sleep, holding my hand. With one last sigh, he let go of the burden of pain and suffering that he has been bravely carrying for so long. I am full of comfort knowing that he is now free, and long for the day I get to be with him again.
May we all carry on Thomas’ legacy by being the very best versions of ourselves for the rest of our days, and do as much as we can to help others in his honor. If we can strive to be half the person Thomas was, this world will be a better place.
I plan to host a celebration of his life here on the beach in South Florida, the first weekend of July, just after his birthday on 1st. I will share specific details as soon as possible. I invite anyone who holds Thomas in their hearts to please join me in celebrating him.
It was an absolute privilege to stand next to Thomas and face this monster head on. Even as his body failed him, his mind and spirit soldiered on. Never was there a day that we weren’t filled with hope. Never was there a day that he even considered throwing in the towel. He was the kind hearted, funny, fearless, magnetic beam of light you all knew him to be up until his very last breath.
Thomas John Fekete, I love you and live for you. Nothing will make me more proud than being able to call myself your wife.
Now, my beautiful angel, go find Bowie and jam.”