**I have edited my original post to include a very moving article from the Fresno Bee************
Yesterday Jason Garcia, a blue belt under Royce, lost his battle to cancer. Two years ago he was in great shape and doing fine, picking up the game quickly. I joking used to call him "Double H", short for Heel Hook, because he was always going for that move, no matter how much of a hard time I gave him about it. He was also a very talanted musician in a local band. In no time this horrible horrible disease of cancer has taken him.
He came back into the gym about two months ago, his short hair now bald from the treatment, hearing almost gone, and very very thin. He wanted to roll a little. I must have asked him 10 times..."Are you sure your Doctor said its ok to work out?" He kept telling me it was no problem, so I let him play a little with one of the other guys, (under threat if they hurt jason I would hurt them). He rolled very lightly on two seperate occasions. I now realize he knew it was probably his last chance to practice the art he loved so much.
Jason was in his early 30's and had no previous medical problems. Once again, and again due to another tragidy I am reminded that life can be very unfair and nothing is promised. I guess the messege is to live every day like its your last.
Rest in Peace Jason.
By Mike Osegueda
The Fresno Bee
Rosanne Garcia sat in her son's bedroom on Wednesday morning, rocking back and forth in his chair, looking at his pictures, his bed and eventually stopping at his Bible.
"Why, mom? Why me?" she remembered her son Jason asking a few weeks back.
"I don't know," she told him. "We just have to keep our eyes on Jesus and know that he's going to take care of us."
Jason Garcia, 31, guitarist for local rock band Speakers for the Dead, died early Tuesday morning after fighting cancer for more than a year.
"He just stopped breathing," his mother said. "He was asleep. That was it. He just left."
On Wednesday, it was just his mother in his bedroom, rocking back and forth, looking at that Bible, looking for peace of mind.
"His spirit has left, and by left I mean left that body that was so weak. The Lord has restored him. That's my way of knowing he's not in pain. His whole spirit is alive. It's complete. It's healthy," she said.
There will be a funeral Mass at 9 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2240 N. Cedar Ave., then burial at St. Peter's Cemetery, 264 N. Blythe Ave. A reception will follow at noon at Pilgrim Armenian Church, 3673 N. First St.
Garcia's cancer fight started in February 2005, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
It didn't make sense. Garcia was training to become a cage fighter. He was a freak about eating healthy. He was dedicated. In the Fresno music scene, he was known as the guy who practiced on his guitar for eight hours a day.
Garcia had surgery, and doctors said everything would be fine. But by November 2005, the cancer was back.
Just two months before that, Speakers for the Dead signed with Magna Carta Records, home to such acts as David Lee Roth, and the band was finishing up its first CD for the label.
Between chemotherapy and radiation, Garcia eventually finished his guitar solos — the final pieces the CD needed before it went to press — even though his band mates had to, at one point, carry him into the studio and set up a bucket next to him, because he was so sick.
"Cancer, it crushes everything about your spirit and your physical being," said Curtis Shamlin, the band's vocalist and Garcia's friend dating back to when they were both in the band Gryp together. "But in Garcia's case, it never crushed his spirit."
Eventually, Garcia traveled to Indiana to be treated by renowned cancer fighter Dr. Larry Einhorn, who treated champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong for cancer. It took six rigorous weeks (most of which was chronicled at www.jasongarcia.org), cost about $200,000 and put Garcia's mother into debt probably for the rest of her life, but Jason returned home in August with his cancer seemingly under control.
But within weeks, Garcia was back in the hospital. After suffering a seizure, he turned to his longtime girlfriend, Denise Rempel, on their way to the hospital and asked, "Is this it?"
"You know, maybe God just wants you to play guitar in his band," Rempel says she told him.
Recently, Garcia's condition had gone up and down. Sometimes he was hopeful that his cancer could be cured. Other times he was frustrated with the toll it was taking on his body.
Last month, he played his final gig with Speakers. He couldn't stand up to do it.
Soon, he was having trouble walking. Slowly, his body was deteriorating.
But one day a few weeks ago, his older brother, Joel, heard guitar sounds coming from Garcia's room. Joel peeked in to see his 7-month-old son, Kaiden, sitting on his brother's bed as Garcia strummed his guitar.
Garcia set his guitar on the bed and Kaiden tried to mimic his uncle.
"That just made Jason smile so much," Joel said, his voice starting to quiver. "I didn't have the camera to take a picture. I told him, 'Next time.' That was the last time I got to see him play the guitar."
Not long after that, Garcia wanted to be baptized. So his mother, brother and a friend helped him into a church one Sunday and he was baptized.
Maybe it was a sign that Garcia knew what was coming. Or maybe it was his way of starting his battle with cancer anew.
He never really said.
"Regardless of how much support you have, you can only suffer for so long," Rempel says. "I know, know for certain, that he's playing the 1976 Les Paul gold top with humbucker pick-up. We always joked that when he was playing in God's band that guitar would be the first thing that God gave him."