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Published: 2002/03/28

Merl Saunders Diagnosed with Cancer

Merl Saunders has been diagnosed with cancer and has canceled all tour dates through June. Saunders will undergo surgery in early April for malignant tumor found in the back of his sinus cavity. The surgery will be followed by several weeks of radiation. ‘I had a very similar condition several years ago and underwent treatment, which almost no one was even aware of,’ said Saunders. ‘But this time I am forced to cancel so many gigs that I didn’t want to hide the reason from my fans. I don’t want anyone to worry. My old pal Muhammad Ali taught me that when you get thrown a punch the best thing you can do is keep fighting. I’ve been through this before and nothing keeps me from the stage. In fact, I’m going to use this time to finish a recording project that I’m excited about. I’m also going to go into the vault and listen to some of those old recordings with some of my old friends like Jerry Garcia to share with the fans.’
Fans are encouraged to send ‘get well’ wishes to Merl via his Funky Forum message board at

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