By Paul Clark
published: August 18, 2005 6:00 am
ASHEVILLE - Robert Moog, whose Moog synthesizers
charted a new course for music in the late 1960s, has
a brain tumor that may be inoperable, according to a
Web site that keeps friends and fans abreast of his
Moog, 71, felt the first symptoms in his arm in late
March, his wife, Ileana Grams, professor of philosophy
emeritus at UNC Asheville, wrote on CaringBridge.com.
"By the end of a lovely trip to Alaska, it was bad
enough to check in with his doctor. The MRI showed the
tumor on April 28," she said.
"Bob went for a second opinion at Duke on May 10 and
was told that it was inoperable because of the
location. ___ On May 16, he had a biopsy at Duke. He
started to lose leg function a few days later. By May
27, he could no longer use his left leg."
Grams wrote that Moog's tumor is a glioblastoma
multiforme, which the Web site emedicine.com states is
a malignant tumor for which no "significant" advances
in treatment have developed in the last 25 years. Most
therapies lessen suffering, and patients with the best
of care can expect to live about a year after
diagnosis, the Web site states.
Moog has settled on a course of conventional and
nutritional therapy, according to the family messages
on the Web site. The Citizen-Times was unable to
contact the family Wednesday.
"It's as you would expect, an extremely difficult time
for them," said Han Fjellestad, who directed the
documentary "Moog," shown at the Asheville Film
Festival last November. Fjellestad receives
e-mails from Grams every couple of weeks updating
"This summer's pretty much all about his treatment and
the various therapies that they've decided on,"
Fjellestad said from his home in San Diego. "It's a
shock, obviously. Bob has a lot more to offer to the
world of music and even outside the world of music. I
really hope he's able to continue his work."
In 1954 at 19, Moog began building early forms of
electronic instruments. Ten years later, he introduced
the synthesizer. Moog synthesizers were used on the
Beatles' "Abbey Road," by George Clinton and
Parliament-Funkadelic and by fusion jazz artists Chick
Corea and Herbie Hancock. Moog, who lives in
Asheville, received a Technical Grammy in 2002.
Michael Adams, president of Moog Music, said it's
"premature" to say what Moog's condition might mean
for the Riverside Drive company, where the instruments
"We are all here working hard to honor the 50 years
that he put into this business," Adams said. "We are
just staying focused on what we're doing in the hopes
that he recovers and that his genius is felt again."