Peyton Arens, the 14-year-old terminally ill metal fan who last summer got a chance to rock out on stage with his heavy metal idol, legendary PANTERA frontman Philip Anselmo, has sadly lost his battle with a rare connective tissue cancer known as rhabdomyosarcoma.
Through the Make-A-Wish foundation, Arens got the chance to get up on stage with PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS on July 31, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and play the PANTERA classic "Walk" (see video below).
Said Anselmo in a posting on his Facebook page: "Dammit… this one hurts deep.
"There's been moments in my life that have been so extraordinarily positive, uplifting and unique, and I feel very lucky to be able to write those words. However, one of the most uplifting experiences had to have been meeting and jamming with Peyton. He was the bravest kid in the entire room when myself and THE ILLEGALS met him at our first gig ever in Oklahoma. I was led to believe he was frail, weak and highly guarded before we met, but he was anything but that deceptive description. He commanded the entire stage at soundcheck, he shredded on the axe, and completely blew us all away collectively with his quick wit, skills and charm. And when it was his turn to get up onstage come gig time, he laid into that guitar with as much passion as most pros in the heavy metal biz today. He will always be in our hearts.
"RIP, little brother Peyton. You put love into our hearts.
"Our condolences go out to his brave family and friends everywhere.
"With all my heart on behalf of many — Philip H. Anselmo."