School of Seven Bells’ Benjamin Curtis Dead at 35
Benjamin Curtis, founding guitarist for School of Seven Bells and former member of Secret Machines and Tripping Daisy, died on Sunday, Dec. 29, after a battle with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. He was 35.
“We can’t thank all of you who supported him and his music through the years enough,” reads a statement from the band. “You made it possible for all of us, and for him, to see how truly loved he was and how many lives he had touched through his music by your gestures. We will all miss this incredibly talented and rare person every day, but we are fortunate enough that he shared with us his music, and that is something that we can keep forever.”
Born in Oklahoma in 1978, Curtis formed School of Seven Bells in the late ’00s after a stint with Secret Machines, a group he’d played in with his brother Brandon. Initially a trio featuring Curtis and singing sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, School of Seven Bells released three albums, earning widespread praise for their lush dream-pop sound. Claudia left the band in 2010, but the Curtis and Alejandra continued on, releasing what would be their final LP, the excellent ‘Ghoststory,’ in 2012.
News of Curtis’ cancer diagnosis broke in February 2013, when Alejandra Deheza wrote on Facebook that the disease had progressed “pretty aggressively” but was ultimately “TREATABLE.” In August, as Curtis awaited a bone-marrow transplant, Rolling Stone reports, members of fellow NYC bands the Strokes and Interpol staged a benefit at the Bowery Hotel.
School of Seven Bells ask that fans, friends and well-wishers respect Curtis’ privacy and send all condolences to email@example.com, a special email address they’ve established in the wake of his passing.