One of the hottest young bands to come out of Texas is mourning the passing of one of its prominent members and dear friends.

The Austin-based Crooks, which disbanded last year, shared a heartbreaking post on its still-active Facebook page sharing the news that Anthony Ortiz Jr., often referred to as Mr. Squeezebox, had passed away on July 31 at the age of 24 after battling cancer.

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The post reads, “Yesterday we lost our brother Anthony Ortiz Jr. to his battle with cancer. Today it hurts a lot. Anthony was many things to many people, and to try to sum them up in a Facebook post today just isn’t possible. To us, he was the shining example of optimism, youth, happiness, love, unbending friendship, humor, and most of all, good will. What he gave us when he entered our lives was a direct reflection of who he was, and for that, we are better people and extraordinarily lucky. Our friend will forever live in our beautiful memories and the music we shared together.”

While Crooks is no longer together as a band, they obviously remained close, supporting Anthony during his courageous battle.

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The young accordionist, known as much for his dynamic personality as his impressive musicianship, revealed that he had an unspecified “type of cancer” in an Instagram post last September. With a dazzling smile and two thumbs up, he was the voice of optimism throughout his chemotherapy treatments. When a tumor was discovered in the back of his head this spring, requiring surgery, he remained positive saying he hoped to be finished with treatments soon.

Our thoughts are with the Crooks, as well as Anthony’s family and friends during this tragic time.

A favorite Texas band mourns the passing of one of its beloved brothers Facebook/@CrooksCountry
Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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