Dan Fogelberg, the singer and songwriter whose hits “Longer,” “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne” helped define the soft rock era, died today (Dec. 16) at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.
“Dan left us this morning at 6:00 a.m. He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side,” reads a statement posted on Fogelberg’s Web site. “His strength, dignity and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him.”
Fogelberg discovered he had advanced prostate cancer in 2004. In a statement then, he thanked fans for their support: “It is truly overwhelming and humbling to realize how many lives my music has touched so deeply all these years … I thank you from the very depths of my heart.”
Fogelberg’s music was powerful in its simplicity. He didn’t rely on the volume of his voice to convey his emotions; instead, they came through in the soft, tender delivery and his poignant lyrics. Songs like “Same Old Lang Syne,” in which a man reminisces after meeting an old girlfriend by chance during the holidays, became classics not only because of his performance, but for the engaging storyline as well.
Fogelberg’s heyday was in the 1970s and early ’80s, when he scored several platinum and multi-platinum records fueled by such hits as “The Power of Gold” and “Leader of the Band,” a touching tribute he wrote to his father, a bandleader.
Later in his career, he would write material that focused on the state of the environment, an issue close to his heart. Fogelberg’s last album was 2003’s “Full Circle,” his first of original material in a decade. A year later, he would receive his cancer diagnosis, forcing him to forgo a planned fall tour.
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