Eva Cassidy’s melanoma

In 1993, Eva was concerned about a small mole on her nose, which she thought looked awful. She went to see a dermatologist who removed it but on closer examination she discovered a larger spot on Eva’s back. Concerned, she advised Eva to have a biopsy, so Eva and her friend Chris Biondo went to Prince George’s County Hospital where Eva underwent a further, lengthier examination. Chris spent many hours in the waiting room until Eva and the doctor finally returned. The doctor then showed them several scans that indicated the patch on Eva’s back was malignant melanoma. The doctor subsequently removed a large strip of skin from Eva’s back, and assured her that the cancerous cells had all been removed, but he also urged her to keep an eye on her health and check in regularly with her doctor. A few weeks later Eva followed up with an appointment with an oncologist to see if the cancer had spread, which wasn’t the case then. Eva made no further such appointments.

Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy

They wanted to do regular check-ups but she didn’t go because she thought it was unnecessary. She thought everything had been taken care of. Eva moved into a little apartment in Annapolis, Maryland, and continued to sing and record, working at Behnke’s Nursery to earn some money. Eva was very happy in her own apartment with her cats. Eva told her mother that if she were to die she wouldn’t have any regrets, because she had always been allowed to create.

Eva's Annapolis apartment

Eva’s Annapolis apartment

In the summer of 1996 Eva painted some murals in schools for the Haven Studios in Annapolis. She had to get up on a ladder. She noticed her hip was sore all the time and so she went to have an X-ray – they found that her hip was completely severed. Eva was scheduled for a hip replacement, but first had to undergo a series of tests. An X-ray of her chest found the cancer had spread to her lungs. It was all connected to her original cancer. It later turned out to be in her shoulder as well, and this made it difficult for her to continue playing guitar. Nevertheless, Eva continued to go to the recording studio and to record as much music as she could. Eva’s oncologist suggested aggressive treatment. It was felt that this could result in five years of living but that without it, she could have just six months to live. But things got worse and worse. Even the drive to the hospital in Baltimore for treatment was excruciating.

Many visitors came to the hospital and later to the house of her parents. Eva had wonderful friends, there was never a day when someone didn’t come. People sang, played and prayed for her and she was never lonely but loved to the end. On September 16, Eva Cassidy gave her last performance in Washington; she got on the stage with a walker and her last song was ‘What a Wonderful World’. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

Thank you card

Thank you card

On her deathbed Bruce Lundvall, president of Blue Note Records rang and apologised for not signing her. In later interviews he admitted he had made a bad mistake. Eva Cassidy died on November 2 at the age of 33. Her ashes were scattered at St Mary’s River. Eva loved this spot. Southern Maryland is beautiful. Four years later Eva Cassidy’s album Songbird outsold Dido’s No Angel becoming the UK’s number one album, eventually even the best sold album of the year 2001. Eva Cassidy’s posthumous success was repeated in other countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Australia. Songbirds keep singing!

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5 reactie(s)

  1. Ace Rockola

    Her rendition of Fields Of Gold gives proof that there is a God. All of this vast space, with thousands of barren and desolate planets, and on one of them, Eva Cassidy, whose voice was like nothing else in the universe. A gift to us all.

  2. Jean

    A beautiful songbird herself, yes gone too soon but she left a wonderful legacy. I often play Eva’s music and her gorgeous voice is a joy and inspiration to listen too. She blessed us all in so many ways. Thank you Eva,

  3. Nancy

    I believe she is the geatest female vocalist ever. She redefined every song she sang. And a Magnificent guitar player as well. She played and sang from a place so deep in the soul few artists can reach. I only wish she had had more time. She was gone too soon.

  4. Artie Portilla

    Lovely God Bless

    • Karen Purvis

      Message to Artie Portilla