Terry Hall had pancreatic cancer, Specials bassist Horace Panter reveals
Terry Hall of The Specials and Fun Boy Three died on Sunday, December 18, and while The Specials' statement only said he passed after a "brief illness," bandmate and original bassist Horace Panter revealed on Wednesday that Terry had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. You can read his whole heartbreaking account:
The Specials. Terry. This is what happened.
We had it all planned out. Make the album we were going to do in 2020 – a reggae album.
Record in Los Angeles in November. We had the studio booked, flights paid for, accommodation sorted. Roger Rivas from The Agrolites was going to co-produce. Shepard Fairey was going to do the cover. Lynval, still recovering from his spinal surgery earlier in the year, was over in the UK and raring to go. Terry had the framework for 8 tunes. Confidence was high. We were set to meet up with Nikolaj and make magic. This was in September. Terry e-mails everyone and says he’s in bed with a stomach bug and can’t do the first week of pre-production sessions. No big deal, we can knock everything back a week. We’re not due to fly out until November 4th. The next week, Terry is no better and is in hospital. There’s not much we can do except wait for him to get better. Sunday October 2nd and I get a phone call from Manager Steve.
And everything turns to shit.
Terry’s illness is a lot worse than we thought.
He has been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas which has spread to his liver.
This is serious. Like life-threatening serious.
He has developed diabetes due to his pancreas being attacked. This has to be treated first, then it’s a regime of chemotherapy.
There is nothing anyone can do. Everything is put on hold.
Terry is emphatic that no-one be told about this. If anyone asks, he’s managing his diabetes.
The chemo treatment starts favourably but it seems that it would be March 2023 at the earliest before we’d be in any position to work. He is in and out of hospital to stabilise the diabetes issue and also to manage pain.
It then goes quiet.
Beginning of December and reports are not good. Terry has lost a lot of weight and is very frail. His friend Ian Broudie visits and phones Manager Steve. He fears that Terry is slipping away.
15th December and Manager Steve drives up to London to visit. He calls me on his return journey and says things are not looking promising. Terry is dying. The next day he is put on morphine and is more-or-less unconscious for most of the time. I thought it would be best for me to go and visit but Lindy, his wife, advises against it. She has held her phone to Terry’s ear so that his sisters and Lynval can say their goodbyes. She suggests I do the same. So, I did. It was tough.
Terry died around half past 5 the next evening, Sunday 18th December.
The world has lost a unique voice and I have lost a good friend.
Rest easy, Terry. Thanks for everything.