(Reuters) – American musician Eddie Money, whose hits including “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On” formed part of the rock and power pop soundtrack of the late 1970s and early 1980s, died on Friday at 70, his family said in a statement released to U.S. media.

“The Money family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning,” the statement said.

Money announced in August that he had esophageal cancer during the taping of an episode of his reality TV series “Real Money.” That episode aired on Thursday night on AXS TV.

“I thought I was just going in to get a checkup, and he told me I got cancer,” Money said on the show, adding that the news hit him “really, really hard.”

He decided to reveal the diagnosis because “I want to be honest with everybody.”

“I want people to know that cancer’s come a long way and not everybody dies from cancer like they did in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Am I going to live a long time? Who knows, it’s in God’s hands. But you know what? I’ll take every day I can get. Every day above ground is a good day,” Money said.

His wife, Laurie Money, with whom he had four sons, said on the show he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer.

The remaining episodes of the reality show, which is in its second season, will deal with Money’s cancer, AXS TV said on its website.

Money had also been recovering from a heart valve procedure performed in June that was unrelated to his cancer, AXS TV.

Money was born Edward Joseph Mahoney on March 21, 1949, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, according to his website.

He became a New York City police officer for two years, but decided to pursue a music career in 1968 and moved to Berkeley, California, where he began performing in local clubs, the website biography said.

After changing his name to Eddie Money in 1976, he met rock promoter Bill Graham, who helped the careers of major acts including the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, and Graham served as mentor and manager to Money.

His debut alum “Eddie Money” came out in 1977 with the big hits “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On.” In all he sold more than 28 million records, his website said.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Matthew Lewis



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