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Music world mourns death of Minnesota's Ed Ackerson, gone at the age of 54

Ackerson was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2018.

The death of Ed Ackerson has been met with dozens of heartfelt tributes from people in the music world, as the Minnesota native was a respected, talented musician and producer who died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 54 on Friday. 

Ackerson was a staple in the music scene for three decades, both locally and around the world as an internationally known producer. He led numerous bands, including The Dig, The 27 Various, Polara, and BNLX. Polara performed during the inaugural Basilica Block Party in 1995 and would go on to have its name in a white star on the outside of First Avenue in Minneapolis. 

Ackerson was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer "just over a year ago," a GoFundMe for his family says. The fundraiser, launched just days before his death, has so far raised $60,000 for his wife, Ashley, and 4-year-old daughter, Annika. 

Since word of his passing has gone public, tributes from bands and entertainers have mounted. 

Ackerson, who also owned and operated Flowers Studio in Minneapolis, is a Stillwater native who made his home in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. 

Ashley Ackerson wrote the following emotional message on Facebook, which was shared on the GoFundMe page. 

"Today I lost my best friend, my companion, my collaborator, my co-conspirator, my globe trotting partner, my rock touring buddy, my true love, my joy, my other half, my heart, my everything. 

"Ed loved life and lived it to the fullest with grace and I got the greatest privilege to join him on this wild journey for 20 years. What a gift. He taught me so much about myself, life, love, music, gear, pro-tools, politics, peace, happiness, inclusivity, art, design, strength, courage, to believe in myself and to always have a strong point of view even if it wasn’t the popular one. He proved to me you can be successful without being a conformist, or following mainstream methods. I was always in awe of his kindness, generosity, non-competitive spirit and strong beliefs that everyone should get a chance, wealth should be shared and there is always room for more positive contributions, art and good vibes in our society.

"Ed never looked to the past, he always looked to the future. I’m sitting here right now listening to his brand new, soon to be released record from his next project. He made art until the day he died and I think it’s some of his best work yet. He never stopped learning, dreaming, loving, exploring, finding new music and inspiration. He found great joy in mentoring and helping others make their music goals a reality. Yet, Ed's proudest moment in life is bringing Annika into this world. He is such an incredible Dad to her. I could just sit and watch them interact for hours. The love, the pure deep unconditional love he had for Annika was profound. My heart is broken for myself but I’m most sad that Annika won’t have her Dad here on earth to teach her, to love her and watch her grow up. The way Ed handled a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis was truly a reflection of his remarkable character. He didn’t sit around and mope, he fought it as hard as he could with a positive attitude, he kept making music for himself and others, we traveled and continued to do the things we love to do until he had to say goodbye to us at 4:20pm on 10/4/19. He was peaceful and at home with his family and friends. He left this world smiling.

"There have been so many offers of love, support and amazing notes written to both Ed and I telling Ed what he meant to them. Many of you have already donated to this fund to help Ed and we are beyond thankful for your generosity. In lieu of flowers or food, please continue to support Annika and the family through this fund. And remember to tell people you love them TODAY as there may not be a tomorrow. I will always love you Ed Ackerson.

"Peace, love, gratitude and rock n’ roll forever, Ashley"

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