POISON's Rikki Rockett has paid tribute to Frankie Banali, who died earlier this week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Earlier today, Rocket posted an Instagram photo of him with the QUIET RIOT drummer, and he included the following message: "I met Frankie Banali when POISON and QUIET RIOT did a small tour together in 1986. Frankie was by far the coolest rockstar I had ever met at that point. We stayed friends since then.
"Frankie was the epitome of being a straight shooter, but a super nice person all at the same time.
"When Frankie and [his wife] Regina reached out to me because they knew I went through my own battle, I hooked them up with my Doctors right away. At that time they had no trials outstanding that they they felt was better than the options he was being offered at the time.
"Frankie battled like a banshee, but the beast was relentless.
"I never got that pasta recipe, Frankie. Damn you!
"Love always my brother..."
The 59-year-old Rikki, whose real name is Richard Allan Ream, was declared cancer free in 2016 after undergoing an experimental treatment.
In June 2015, Rikki visited his primary care doctor with a sore throat. His doctor found a small tumor at the base of his tongue, and Rikki learned he had human papillomavirus (HPV)-related oral cancer. He endured nine rounds of chemotherapy and 37 sessions of radiation therapy. The tumor initially responded, but returned three months later, spreading to his lymph nodes. Rikki then saw Dr. Ezra Cohen at UCSD Moores Cancer Center, who helped him enroll in a clinical trial of pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Rikki's tumor responded immediately. Just over two months into the trial, a scan revealed that his tumor had shrunk over 90 precent. Today Rikki is cancer-free, enjoys playing with his band, POISON, caring for his two children, and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Frankie was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer on April 17, 2019 and given six months to live. He put up an inspiringly brave and courageous 16-month battle to the end and continued playing live as long as he could. Standard chemotherapy stopped working and a series of strokes made the continuation on a clinical trial impossible. He ultimately lost the fight at 7:18 p.m. on August 20 in Los Angeles surrounded by his wife and daughter.
Banali was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after going to the emergency room for shortness of breath, leg pain and loss of energy. A scan of his lungs caught an image of his liver, which is where the first spots were seen. Then came the discovery of a tumor on his pancreas.
He had been in treatment since the spring of last year and recently completed his 21st round of chemotherapy with the hopes of shrinking or controlling the cancer.