ESMZ fan J.R. Gibbs loses battle with cancer

July 27, 2014
David Wexler

jr-gibbsJ.R. Gibbs, a retired Air Force combat veteran and avid Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fan, passed away this morning after battling cancer. He was 61 years old.

Gibbs, of Bentonville, Arkansas, will be remembered for serving his country, being a proud father and grandfather and for his positive outlook on life, even after learning he had cancer shortly after attending Edward Sharpe’s Big Top festival last October in Los Angeles.

On June 4, despite having radiation treatment that morning, Gibbs drove with his daughter and son-in-law to Columbia, Missouri to see ESMZ in concert. Gibbs said that his doctors advised him not to attend, but he was determined to see them anyway — even if he had to “wear a mask, gloves and gown so not to get sick.”

Gibbs arrived at the show during crash’s opening set and watched the rest of the concert from the VIP area. Janglin Souls was fortunate to meet up with him during the concert, and he assured us he would continue to fight until the end and not give up.

After the show, he posted these words on his Facebook page: “Life is hard. Come celebrate it with me. Thank you for singing this to me. Yes. Love you all.”

Gibbs had plans to travel to California this summer with his daughter and nephew, where he hoped to see some of his musical friends in the band and the beautiful deserts of the Southwest.

Janglin Souls offers our deepest condolences to Gibbs and his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.

We would like to share with you two stories about Gibbs that Janglin Souls posted in March. The first article is his account of his experience during Big Top. The second is a Q&A we conducted with him in which he discusses his time in the service, his love for music and how he fell in love with ESMZ.

“What ESMZ do is beyond explanation,” he said. “People ask me, ‘Why do you love that group so much?’ I tell them unless you have seen them perform, you would never get it … They may not like people using the word genius when describing them, but they are. They have big hearts and they care about their fans that shows as well. I feel peace and love from them.”

Storytime with J.R. Gibbs

Q&A with J.R. Gibbs

 

5 Comments

  1. “What ESMZ do is beyond explanation,” he said. “People ask me, ‘Why do you love that group so much?’ I tell them unless you have seen them perform, you would never get it … They may not like people using the word genius when describing them, but they are. They have big hearts and they care about their fans that shows as well. I feel peace and love from them.”

    Yes!!

    Very touching story. And a sad (but important) reminder that our time in this world isn’t nearly as long as it seems to be when we’re young. (And, on the lighter side, I’m glad to find out that I’m not the oldest ESMZ fan after all!)

  2. I remember fondly seeing Mr. Gibbs dance the night away during the Big Top. And although we did not exchange words, the love and life in his eyes when we exchanged smiles across the aisles will always be remembered. Thank you ESMZ for creating magical events filled with beautiful moments of human connection, and thank you Mr. Gibbs for dancing the night away.

    “Life is beauty through and through”.

  3. Jr is my father. This story has really touched my heart he really did love esmz as well as thia fan club. I want to take this time to personally thank everyone for their love and support during thia time of sadness. I know my father would love this article. Thank you again.

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