Sad news in the world of music today as we learned saxophonist extraordinaire Mars Williams passed away Monday at the age of 68. We all grew up listening to his music with The Waitresses and The Psychedelic Furs, and he just finished touring the US with The Furs and Squeeze.
Williams was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer (ampullary) last year and he had been fighting the good fight ever since. Sadly, his battle has come to an end. “It’s with great sadness that we send this message to let the many people who loved and supported Mars Williams know that he passed away earlier today after his year-long struggle with cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends, both in person and around the world, who held him close, and loved him dearly.”
The message continued, “Until the end, Mars’ inexhaustible humor and energy, and his love for music, pushed him forward. As it became clear in late summer that his treatment options were coming to an end, he chose to spend six weeks of the time he had left living as he had since he was a teenager — out on the road performing night after night. Those last performances with the Psychedelic Furs will live on with all of the other incredible contributions that Mars has made as a person, and as a musician, and that boundless energy will continue to inspire.”
The Furs also posted a tribute to their Instagram page, it said, “We’re heartbroken 💔. Goodbye to the great Mars Williams. Rest well.”
Williams is a DePaul University alum where he studied jazz. From there he went on to play with The Waitresses and The Furs. Over his illustrious career, he also played and recorded with Billy Idol, The Killers, Ministry, Jerry Garcia, Power Station, The Untouchables and so many more legends of the music industry.
In his passing, he leaves a legacy that is inspirational. Williams had been sober for over 20 years and was actively helping fellow musicians struggling through various aspects of life through the MusiCares program.