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.
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.
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.
First off I would like to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers. I writing this post to let everybody know what has been going on the last couple months. Back in January, I had a surgery to remove a tumor out the back of my head. This surgery really did a number on me with all the medicines I was on, and it made me not be myself. For a long time, I couldn't think, talk, etc. Now I'm starting to feel a little more like normal. I'm still doing treatments and hopefully will be done with it soon. I will be trying my best to reach out to everybody who has been trying to get in contact with me. All in all keep sending your thoughts and prayers. Thank you. http://youcaring.com/mrsqueezebox.
Our thoughts are with the Crooks, as well as Anthony’s family and friends during this tragic time.