There has been a great sadness dwelling within the music community over the past few months. Rumors and speculation have been swarming around Mikey, (Michael Houser, lead guitarist for Widespread Panic). Those in touch with the band have been aware that Houser is ill, and when he stopped playing with the band on July 3rd in Milwaukee, WI, fears became realities. Since Houser's departure, guitarist George McConnell of the Kudzu Kings has been playing guitar with WSP.
There had been no official word about Houser's health, not even a peep from the Widespread Panic family, until today, July 16th. Mikey addressed the fans, family and music community at large with the following words posted on the Widespread Panic Website:
Dear Widespread Panic community, and dear friends, Mikey here, with some thoughts and facts for you.
As some of you know, I have contracted a terminal form of cancer. I want to assure all of you that all that can be done has been done, and I want to thank all of you who have contributed information, medicine, and so on.
As for me, I am at my home in Athens, GA, surrounded by my family, and being well taken care of.
In the words of Lou Gehrig "Though some of you may have thought I have caught a bad break, I feel like the luckiest man in the world."
Between my best friends, J.B., Todd, Sunny, Dave and JoJo, and you, our friends, and best support group in the world, I feel strong and well taken care of.
I have hopes of playing again soon, although I can't say for sure when or where, and I hope to see you all there.
With much thanks and love,
[Published on: 7/16/02]