Between the end of December and the middle of January, the world lost three of its most talented and original artists and human beings: Motorhead's Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, David Bowie, and most recently, actor Alan Rickman. Though they were each icons in their respective fields, there is one thread that sadly ties them together: They all died of cancer. And now, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Lemmy have a message they'd like to share, which has been perfectly conveyed in one tweet.
On December 28, rock iconoclast Lemmy passed away suddenly, just days after doctors diagnosed him with an aggressive terminal cancer that had spread to his brain. He had celebrated his 70th birthday four days before his death. Earlier this week, the music world — and planet Earth — lost another icon when Bowie died after an 18-month battle with liver cancer, which he had kept a secret from the public. Eerily, Bowie also died just days after celebrating his birthday. And on Thursday, British screen and stage legend Rickman also succumbed to cancer, the type of which is still unknown. Like Bowie, he was 69.
This simple, wordless message is perhaps the perfect way to express the deep, profound frustration many toward for such a complex ailment like cancer. And flipping the bird certainly fits with each of their personal styles.
Motorhead frontman and bassist Lemmy, whose credo was "born to lose, live to win," was rock and roll personified. If he's not one to give the middle finger to cancer, then really, nobody is.
The same goes for Bowie, who consistently challenged norms and redefined the very ground he walked on. For cancer to take away this brilliant man when he was hardly done with his magic show is a grievous crime, and therefore a hearty flipping of the bird is completely warranted.
And then there's Rickman, who could level an army with one raised eyebrow. "Really, cancer? Is that all you got?" he says, bored.
So that's right. F*ck you, cancer. You've taken far too many lives, and we've had enough. According to the National Cancer Institute, there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012 (that's the entire population of New York City), and the number of new cases will jump to 22 million in the next two decades.
On Tuesday night, President Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son Beau to brain cancer last May, as the leader of a new initiative that will hopefully "make America the country that cures cancer once and for all." Writing about the new initiative, Biden expressed his aim to "break down silos and bring all the cancer fighters together."
May Vice President Biden succeed in his mission, for Beau, Lemmy, Bowie, Rickman, and the millions of loved ones we lose each year to cancer. Because a cure would be the ultimate middle finger.