Tyler Robinson, who passed away when he was only 17, left a lasting impact on the lives of Imagine Dragons and their music. On Wednesday night during Imagine Dragons' Yahoo! On The Road tour date in St. Louis, Missouri, singer Dan Reynolds gave a heartfelt shout out to Robinson, just a day after what would've been Robinson's 18th birthday.
Many fans know of Robinson because the band has dedicated their song, "Demons," to him, but not many are aware of how the teen originally connected with the rising super stars. The musicians shared the story with Ben Lyons before their show. "We were playing a small club," said guitarist Wayne Sermon. "There happened to be this kid in the audience, Tyler Robinson, who was just a fan of the music. We found out after the show that he had been battling cancer for a while. We met with him and were instantly struck by his character."
Robinson had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma at 16. He spent a year undergoing treatments and one of his favorite lyrics during that period was from "It's Time," where Imagine Dragons sings that the "road to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell." The band formed a friendship with the teen and dedicated the song to him at a show.
"We stayed in constant contact with him. He came to another few shows. And all of the sudden it just struck," said Sermon. "The cancer had come back. He was in remission for a while, and within a day he was in the hospital and had passed. We wanted to use his name to spread a positive message. We felt like that was the right thing to do."
When Robinson passed away in March, Sermon said the group started the Tyler Robinson Foundation to help families with children who are battling cancer "pay for the expensive costs" associated with the treatment. At the time of his death, the band was also in the midst of editing their video for the song, "Demons," and they dedicated that song to the young fan. At the Yahoo! On the Road show, they encouraged the audience at The Pageant and watching online to donate to the newly established cancer foundation, or any other cause to help find a cure.
"He was only 17-years-old and his courage was an inspiration to all of us," the band said. "Forming the Tyler Robinson Foundation with his family was a way for us to honor his legacy by doing something positive - donations to the Foundation will help families who are unable to afford cancer care for their children."
The band included a clip from the 2011 show where they met Robinson. The music video concludes with footage captured by Robinson's brother during the show where the band dedicated Tyler's favorite song "It's Time" to the teen. Reynolds had Robinson sing into the mic and embraced him during the song, with the audience chanting Robinson's name afterwards.
The entire video of the 2011 performance can be seen here. Once you know Robinson's incredible story and heroic struggles, the shaky, blurry video of the fan smiling and singing along, with his brother cheering him on, is the most moving footage of all.
- The Tyler Robinson Foundation
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