After many months of serious health issues, during which time he feared he was on his "way out," shred pioneer Jason Becker has issued an update on social media saying that he is beginning to feel like himself again, and thanked those who have supported the virtual fundraising campaign that has been set up help pay for his medical expenses.
For the past 30 years, Becker has been living with ALS. While his condition has been stable for a long time, a couple of months ago he was hospitalised with shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate. Taking to social media, he thanked those who have sent him messages of support.
"Hey everyone, I am finally starting to feel like myself again, after many months of scary health issues, and thinking I was on my way out," he wrote. "Once again, thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes; I honestly feel that energy and I'm very grateful. It feels so good to know you are out there and your kindness and support brings tears to my eyes."
Becker set out new limits for the electric guitar, swapping high-speed licks with his friend Marty Friedman in 80s shred outfit Cacophony. The influence he had on his peers was immeasurable. Since his recent health scare, the guitar community has rallied around his cause, with musicians led by DragonForce's Herman Li putting their weight behind the #ShredforJasonBecker campaign.
The Official Jason Becker Reverb Shop was launched with artists such as Joe Satriani, Jeff Loomis, Nili Brosh and Paul Stanley all donating signed guitars for auction. Satriani donated his stage-played "Flame" JS1000 – of the 2004 G3 tour fame – to the cause, while two signature Jason Becker Kiesel guitars were signed by a number of artists, including all of Metallica.
"How can I possibly thank Herman Li, Nayla, Colleen, Stephen, Amy, and all the musicians who got together and donated their time and guitars and put their hearts into their music, all for my benefit?" wrote Becker. "Your loving words and gestures are humbling and I am honoured. Thank you all. I am blessed beyond belief for each and every one of you."
Becker said he hoped to return to music "in some form," and said that the support from fans and well-wishers had offered a great source of strength to him and his family.