Legendary guitarist and composer Jason Becker, who has been living with ALS for over 30 years, says that he thought he was on his "way out" following several "scary health issues."
Last month, Becker underwent treatment for a bacterial infection. He spent several days at a hospital in Northern California after experiencing "shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate," according to his mother.
Earlier today, Jason released the following statement via his social media:
"I am finally starting to feel like myself again, after many months of scary health issues, and thinking I was on my way out.
"Once again, thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes; I honestly feel that energy and I'm very grateful. It feels so good to know you are out there and your kindness and support brings tears to my eyes.
"How can I possibly thank Herman Li, Nayla, Colleen, Stephen, Amy, and all the musicians who got together and donated their time and guitars and put their hearts into their music, all for my benefit? Your loving words and gestures are humbling & I am honored. Thank you all. I am blessed beyond belief for each and every one of you.
"I am hoping to be able to check in on the computer and try to keep up with everything as much as my energy will allow me, and I hope to get back to music, in some form, as much as I can.
"I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. My family and I could not have gotten this far without you all."
Becker's story is one of brilliance, talent, determination, adversity, and, ultimately, triumph. A child prodigy on guitar, Jason rose to prominence as a teenager when he was one half of the technical guitar duo CACOPHONY, with his great friend Marty Friedman. In 1989, at only 19 years old and after wowing audiences all over the world, the young virtuoso became the guitarist for David Lee Roth, following in the huge footsteps of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai. He wrote and recorded on Roth's third solo album, "A Little Ain't Enough", and was poised for superstardom when a nagging pain in his leg was diagnosed as Motor Neurone Disease (MND),also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),or Lou Gehrig's Disease, the same condition Stephen Hawking lived with for over five decades. It is a fatal condition with a life expectancy of maybe five years. Maybe.
That was more than 30 years ago. He lost the ability to play guitar, walk, talk, and breathe on his own. But never lost his will to live or his desire to create music. Communicating through a series of eye movements with a system developed by his father, Jason spells out words as well as musical notes and chords. He imparts his musical vision to his team who then can input the notes into a computer, edit the parts to his exacting standards, and then generate charts for session musicians. His inspiring music and life story have been the subject of countless news articles and magazine cover stories.
Becker's latest album, "Triumphant Hearts", was released in December 2018 via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. The disc features guest appearances by a who's who of six-string gods, including Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Neal Schon, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert and Joe Bonamassa.
Beginning in March, some of the world's greatest guitarists came together to raise money and celebrate Jason's music via a virtual event hosted in part by DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li at twitch.tv/hermanli.