Fans Show Support For Big Wreck Guitarist Brian Doherty

Fans, friends, and fellow musicians are sharing their support for Big Wreck rhythm guitarist Brian Doherty, who has terminal cancer.

After months of whispers about the musician’s health, Big Wreck this week confirmed Doherty's diagnosis. The type of cancer was not disclosed.

“We have been in his corner as he went through treatment but regret to have to share that unfortunately the diagnosis is now terminal,” read a message on the band’s Facebook page. "We felt that it was important to make sure everyone understands what's happening here so that we can all send our love, prayers and good thoughts to him.”

“We love Brian to no end as do our fans and we know you'll respect his privacy and support his healing at this time.”

New Jersey businessman James Bukowiec, who describes himself as a close friend of Doherty, launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Doherty and his family.

"This last nine months have been brutal. The physical effects of the treatment have been devastating,” wrote Bukowiec. "The costs have been overwhelming.

“He is loved by the fans for his masterful contributions to Big Wreck these past 21 years. His musical legacy, touring all over the world, sharing his gift of music and musicianship with us all has touched our lives deeply.”

According to Bukowiec, Doherty struggled with addiction during his life and was hoping to launch a music therapy program at Kitchener’s Ray of Hope.

Doherty co-founded Big Wreck in Boston with fellow Berklee College of Music students Ian Thornley, Dave Henning and Forrest Williams. Their debut album, In Loving Memory Of… was released in 1997.

Big Wreck split up in 2002. “There are a lot of reasons for it but essentially the four of us just sort of did it wrong, for lack of a better word,” Thornley told in 2016. “We lost sight of the reasons why we started doing it in the first place.”

Doherty moved to Camlachie near Sarnia, Ont., where he formed the indie band Death Of 8 and taught music. Doherty and Thornley reunited in 2010 and Big Wreck released a new album, Albatross, in 2012.

In a Facebook post, former Big Wreck guitarist Paulo Neta called Doherty “a great friend to me and my family and an amazing musician.” 

Big Wreck is scheduled to play four summer festivals in Canada this summer.