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Elton John on the Band's Levon Helm: "Their Music Changed My Life"

Elton John Jemal Countess/Getty Images

The Woodstock generation and loyal fans of the Band mourn the tragic death of Levon Helm, who passed away today after battling cancer. And of those remembering the late musician is an artist who's become one of music's biggest names himself, Elton John.

The singer released a statement opening up about the loss of someone he found so influential in his life, and also revealed that he's memorialized Helm in more ways than just his song "Levon," which he cowrote with Bernie Taupin.

MORE: The Band's Levon Helm Dead at 71 After Cancer Battle

"When I heard the Band's Music from Big Pink, their music changed my life," he told Entertainment Weekly. "And Levon was a big part of that band. Nigel Olson, my drummer, will tell you that every drummer that heard him was influenced by him. He was the greatest drummer and a wonderful singer and just a part of my life that was magical. They once flew down to see me in Philadelphia and I couldn't believe it. They were one of the greatest bands of all time. They really changed the face of music when their records came out. I had no idea he was sick so I'm very dismayed and shocked that he died so quickly. But now my son [Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John] has his name."

Helm, 71, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998. His family released a statement after his death that read, "Levon Helm passed peacefully this afternoon. He was surrounded by family, friends and bandmates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul."

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