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Trey Anastasio Saxophonist James Casey Dead At 40

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Photo by Geoff Tischman

James Casey, who played saxophone for the Trey Anastasio Band, has died.

The D.C-born musician, who was 40, succumbed to colon cancer.

Educated at the Berklee College Of Music, Casey was an accomplished instrumentalist as well as a respected and in-demand vocalist, composer and producer.

Over the course of his decorated career he played and/or collaborated with Michael Kiwanuka, Chaka Khan, Melody Gardot, Wu Tang, John Legend, Chromeo, Soullive, Lettuce and Brooke Parrott. He toured with Meghan Trainor and was in several lineups of Phil Lesh & Friends.

On social media his family wrote: “It is with profound grief and a broken heart that we confirm the passing of James Casey. He died peacefully in the early morning of August 28, 2023, surrounded by his wife and family. James persevered through his colon cancer battle for two years, and it was the honor of his career to release solo music and perform during that time. James brought joy to everyone around him and his legacy will live on, both through his music and the advocacy work that’s become so integral to him. It was so important to James to help others avoid his fate – to learn the importance of early colon cancer screenings, know your family history, and be an advocate for your own health. When detected early, colon cancer is almost always curable. He shared his diagnosis publicly and illuminated his ongoing battle to raise awareness and help others. James was a remarkable human being, beloved for his wit, humility, kindness and generosity. He will be dearly missed.”

Casey, who recorded under the moniker Animus Rexx, chronicled his experience with cancer in the short film Music As Medicine.

Donations can be made to a GoFundMe campaign and Casey’s family has asked for other donations to be made to the Nancy Langhorne Foundation and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in lieu of flowers.