Benefit Auction To Aid Death Frontman Battling Tumor

Insurance company refuses to pay for death metal pioneer's second operation.

Having seemingly survived a brain tumor two years ago, Chuck Schuldiner is in trouble again.

The frontman for the heavy metal bands Death and Control Denied, and a forefather of the burgeoning death metal movement, underwent emergency surgery last year after he was diagnosed with pontine glioma, a rare type of brain tumor (see Death Frontman Recovering Well After Surgery"). Several months after the operation, which removed nearly half the growth, he appeared to be on the mend and was even writing new material.

But Schuldiner's recovery was only temporary, according to Maria Abril, a spokesperson for his Hammerheart America record label.

The tumor has continued to grow. Temporarily inoperable due to its proximity to sensitive areas of his brain, it has recently been deemed operable, with surgery now imperative. According to his doctors, if Schuldiner doesn't receive another operation before the end of May, he probably won't survive.

However, since Schuldiner was treated previously for a brain tumor, his condition has been deemed "pre-existing" and his insurance company has refused to pay for an operation estimated to cost between $70,000 and $120,000. Unfortunately, Schuldiner and his family exhausted their funds on his prior treatment. Abril said he must walk into the hospital with a down payment of at least $30,000 in order for doctors to operate.

To raise funds for Schuldiner, several metal labels, bands and instrument manufacturers have donated memorabilia and guitars to Hammerheart, which will auction them on eBay starting Thursday (May 24). These items will include Schuldiner's 1996 BC Rich Mockingbird guitar, an ESP bass guitar signed by Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Death, Control Denied), a Goo Goo Dolls platinum record, an autographed Napalm Death LP, autographed CDs by Cathedral and Halford, autographed Type O Negative and Morbid Angel posters and Joe Satriani and Savatage tour jackets. Fans are urged to donate additional items or money.

"If every person that has a single Death CD in their collection sent a single dollar, it would be a lot of people and a lot of dollars," said Abril. Information on the auction can be found at

In addition to Hammerheart's efforts, auction site will hold its own benefit auction on May 30, the day the site launches, according to co-founder Thom Hazaert. The site is reaching out to major metal bands for help and has already received confirmations from Papa Roach, Nonpoint and Giant Merchandise (which handles merchandising for Korn, Limp Bizkit, Disturbed and others).