Greg Gilbert, the lead singer for the U.K. indie rock band Delays, died after a battle with cancer. He was 44. Gilbert’s wife, Stacey Heale, shared the tragic news with fans on Facebook Thursday. The group scored several hits in the U.K. between 2004 and 2010, including “Hey Girl,” “Long Time Coming,” “Valentine,” and “Hideaway.”
“My beautiful boy [Gilbert] died this afternoon. He was with his brother and cousin and surrounded by stories and laughter of his childhood. He was calm and gently slipped away into the stars,” Heale wrote. “I spent last night alone in bed with him. His energy was far too big for his human body now, I could feel this. I opened the window and told him to go and be in the universe.” She went on to call Gilbert an “extraordinary human,” who was “not of this world.” The musician told her to “always believe in magic, that I will never be alone because it is all around us,” Heale wrote. “My heart is broken but full of magic.”
Gilbert was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2016. In August, he shared on social media that he was only being treated “solely for pain relief” at the Mountbatten Hampshire hospice. “The pains are mostly under control and the nurses here are nothing less than angels. But I’m now in an uncertain future where I don’t know how long I have and what the days will look like,” Gilbert wrote at the time. “I still believe in magic, the power of a good gesture, and laughter. I want to fill the days ahead with all of these and so much more.”
Gilbert’s brother Aaron Gilbert, who played keyboards for the Delays, thanked the group’s fans for their support. He noted that Gilbert’s work, both as a musician and an artist, will continue to live on after his death. “Thank you for sharing our fried, and for making it easier to carry at times while you were firefighting battles of your own… and thank you for making Greg such a special person in your lives,” Aaron wrote. “I’m so blad we all existed at the same time.”
Delays were established in 2001 as Corky but released their first EP in 2001 as Idoru. After they signed with Rough Trade Records, they changed their name to Delays and released their first album Faded Seaside Glamour in 2004. They released three other albums – You See Colours (2006), Everything’s the Rush (2008), and Star Tiger Star Ariel (2010) – before members of the band began focusing on other interests.
Gilbert, whose trademark falsetto vocals helped Delays’ music stand out in the U.K. indie scene, focused on his artwork. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he chronicled his treatment through art and poetry on social media. In 2019, his work was displayed at the Southampton City Art Gallery, notes The Guardian. Gilbert is survived by his wife and their two children, Dali and Bay.