Thomas Fekete, guitarist and one of the founding members of Surfer Blood, has died after battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was 27.
Fekete was first diagnosed with sarcoma in April 2015, when he had to drop out of touring with the band. Despite surgery to remove the tumor, it had spread to his lungs and spine. Surfer Blood and Fekete had created a GoFundMe page to cover his medical expenses, given that he was forced to seek “alternative” treatment that would not be covered by insurance.
On that same GoFundMe page, after Fekete died, his wife Jess wrote that “even as his body failed him, his mind and spirit soldiered on.”
“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,” she added. “Now, my beautiful angel, go find Bowie and jam.”
Fekete had continued making music, using the proceeds from his latest LP “Burner,” along with donations gained at Surfer Blood benefit concerts, to cover medical expenses. When the proceeds were stolen out of the band’s van other bands stepped in, including Yo La Tengo, Guided By Voices, Cults and Real Estate. They released demos, live tracks and unreleased songs for sale on the GoFundMe page.
Surfer Blood, rounded out by John Paul Pitts, Tyler Schwarz — both of whom met Fekete at an Ultra Music Festival after party — Lindsey Mills and Mike McCleary, posted the following tribute on their Facebook.
“I love you Thom. Thank you for convincing me to leave Florida to play shows, and for playing music with me for six amazing years. I’ve never met anyone like you and I know I never will again. I don’t know where or who I would be without you, and I’ll miss you everyday.”
Fekete is survived by his wife.