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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The bass player with alternative rock band TV on the Radio died on Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer, the group said. Gerard Smith was 36.
"We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer," said a message posted on its Web site. "We will miss him terribly."
Smith's illness was disclosed five weeks ago, with the band noting in an upbeat statement that given Smith's "legendarily willful disposition ... it might just be cancer that has the problem."
He was diagnosed with cancer after the band had finished recording its new album "Nine Types of Light," which coincidentally debuted at No. 12 on the U.S. pop chart Wednesday.
Smith joined the five-piece band in time to work on its previous album, 2008's "Dear Science." Away from the band, he and singer Tunde Adebimpe wrote and composed music for "The Lottery," a documentary that looks at public education through the eyes of Harlem's Success Academy annual intake lottery.
"Gerard was a classy, thoughtful guy and he always seemed kind of bemused by the rock'n'roll thing," Spin magazine music editor Charles Aaron said. "He hung back, because he didn't write the band's songs, and didn't wanna try to interpret the other guys' work, but he had plenty of strong opinions."
Reporting by Dean Goodman