The veteran musician has rejected chemotherapy as a path of treatment
Fans have embarked on an outpouring of sympathy for venerated US keyboardist Bernie Worrell — best-known as a key, longtime member of soul/funk/rock collective Parliament-Funkadelic — after his wife and manager, Judie, made a public Facebook post advising that the 71-year-old has been diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer.
"I have not wanted to share this information with anyone this soon. But, I am being told 'people around the world LOVE Bernie, they would help if they knew'. We shall see: Bernie is suffering from 4th Stage Lung Cancer," Judie wrote in the note, which had been published once previously but taken down when the family realised their youngest granddaughter had not yet been informed personally.
The post goes on to explain that chief among Worrell's concerns at the moment is the release of his new album, Retrospectives, currently about 90% of the way to its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo.
"He wants his album released in his lifetime … then, we will address trying to find a cure for him," Judie wrote, advising that Worrell had already "rejected chemotherapy (at this point)" as a means of treatment, but that "he is undergoing naturopathic treatment (for which we are trying to raise money), which does the same but without the toxic chemical stew".
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"There is a man (Dr James Forsythe in Reno NV) who has, reportedly, had success with late-stage cancer patients," Judie wrote. "PLEASE do NOT start indundating me with methodologies. Dr Forsythe reportedly uses a combination of naturopathic herbs and supplements AND low-dose chemotherapy with cannabis oil.
"Please say whatever you have to say to whichever Deity/Great Spirit/Allah/God/Jehovah in whom you believe — and should Bernie be appearing somewhere, GO SEE HIM … just don't talk about this to him. It is totally overwhelming for him and he does NOT want a lot of emotional histrionics."
Fan reaction to the news has been strong, with Judie consequently having to delegate the task of reading well-intentioned emails — "despite my request that you not inundate me with all kinds of 'this will cure him', some of you decided to do it anyway," she explained — to a third party.
However, despite obvious weight loss (he is reportedly down to about 51.5 kilograms), Worrell is not yet feeling the debilitating symptoms of the cancer, Judie says.
"Many people are asking me, 'How is Bernie?'" she wrote. "He's fine. The pain he is in is from his arthritis.
"So far, thankfully, he is not feeling any effects from the cancer. I will let you all know when that changes."
The family is continuing to investigate alternative treatment options for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer. To donate to his album campaign, head to the Bernie Worrell: Retrospectives Indiegogo page.