I thought you should know that you recently lost one of your biggest fans.
My brother, Derek, had been a U2 fan for many years. He owned every album (and single), was often the first online to buy concert tickets, scoured E-bay for rare collectibles, and could quote you the next album release date at any time. He was a passionate fan.
In January of 2009, he purchased tickets for himself and three friends to see your Las Vegas concert in October. It would be his fourth U2 concert experience, a fact which brought him much pride. He had no idea at that time that he would engage in a battle for his life, and would never attend your concert. In March, a rare malignant tumor was found in his leg. Despite aggressive chemotherapy and surgery, the cancer spread throughout his body. By August, it became very difficult for him to walk, and a seizure caused a fractured shoulder. In spite of increased physical challenges, he was determined to go to the concert and mentioned it often. He began to look into handicapped accommodations. When pain became more of a constant, he remarked that “he could catch you on the next tour”. It was the first sign of surrender I witnessed in him.
In September, the cancer had spread to his brain and his illness was deemed terminal. My family was by his bedside on September 30th as he waged his final physical battle. In the early morning hours before he passed away, we turned on his U2 albums, hoping the familiar would bring comfort.
As the day of the October concert arrived, hundreds of Derek's friends dusted off their U2 albums and played them in memory of Derek. Even the grocery store where he was employed turned on a tune and cranked up the volume. He, no doubt, enjoyed his front row seat from Heaven.
Derek respected your band and it's music, not only for your musicality, but for your message. He was a devoted follower of Christ, and loved informing us of the meaning behind your lyrics. The fact that many songs are inspired by Bible verses was not wasted on him. As our large church was packed with friends and family to pay respects, a collection of U2 songs was played, and attendees received a program graphically inspired by your album covers. It was a great day of celebration and remembrance.
I want to thank you for the way you influenced and inspired my brother's life until the very end. We have great pride in the way he lived and the legacy he left.
(Rich Baker, Derek, Dan Baker)