Mars Williams, illustrious saxophone player who played a significant role in bands like The Psychedelic Furs and The Waitresses, died on Monday (Nov. 20). He was 68 years old.
The Chicago Tribune revealed the news, noting that the Chicago area native died after a year-long battle with ampullary cancer. According to a GoFundMe his family set up to help cover treatment costs, Williams was diagnosed with the rare cancer in 2022. The family has since updated the platform with news of his death. “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 statement reads.
The note 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.”
Williams studied jazz at DePaul University before he moved to New York City, where he began playing with the Psychedelic Furs and The Waitresses. As part of The Waitresses, he played on songs like his first Hot 100 hit, “I Know What Boys Like.”
Over the course of his career, he performed and recorded with additional acts like Billy Idol, The Killers and more.
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