History & Memorabilia
Online Video: The Jonathon Lee Story
On Sunday, October 3, 2004, Jonathon Lee died at the age of 51. It was an expected event for his family and those who knew how ill he was. But it came as a shock to many. Jonathan had a capacity to "pull himself together" and give the impression that he was doing well. He disliked sympathy and pity. He did not want people to know how seriously ill he was. He was, however, receptive to compassion and appreciative that many people knew how to be compassionate without offending his sense of pride.
Jonathon died the way he had lived -- by choice. When kidney failure and the prospect of dialysis were added to his long list of serious medical problems, it was too much. He elected to give up the fight. He had fought bravely for many years. Now he used his courage to make the final decision. His physician of many years and his family did not try to dissuade him or intervene. It was a time for respect and support. Jonathan lived bravely and he died with dignity.
"It is with a heavy heart, that I must report to the world, today, Sunday, October 3, 2004 at about 1:00 a.m. PDT, Jonathon Lee, the man who composed the most beautiful, heavenly music known to man and stroked the ivories on the piano like no other, has passed away." (Borrowed from the original Jonathon Lee Website, and written by Ben Bentsen, Jonathon's good friend, angel, and his original website technical designer and host.)
Jonathon was loved by many and cherished by some. The man quoted above was one who cherished Jonathon. What a life Jonathon had. It was rich with both pain and joy. Jonathon's life was irrevocably set on a volatile, spiraling course when he developed Type 1 diabetes at the age of four. His creativity, perhaps augmented by the difficulty of managing his life, was the hallmark of his life. We did not expect him to live much beyond 30 years of age, but he beat the odds handily and had a 51st birthday. Jonathon's life was a bumpy road, but it was never boring. He loved to live "on the edge" and always expected to die "in the saddle". He did just that, exactly one month after his last concert. At the last concert he changed "chairs", functioned as musical director and introduced Michael Martinez to the fans.
Jonathon acquired many friends along the way and seldom any enemies. His heart was huge. He was generous to a fault, giving away whatever he had and often living virtually penniless. His capacity to challenge both luck and fate was endless. His body was frail but he had the courage of a lion. We hope Ben doesn't mind as we quote some more of his words from a recent email. "Jonathon was a simple person. All he wanted was enough money to make ends meet and for people to hear his music. He enjoyed playing. He was doing what he enjoyed more for the pleasure of making people happy, than he was the money.( Ben Bentsen, 2/8/07)"
The direction of Jonathon's career changed course forever on the date of his death. But we do not think of his career as dead. His creative productions will endure into the future. He inspired and taught a talented young musician to pick up where he left off and ensure that his music will be performed and enjoyed. Michael Martinez is thoroughly conversant with the style of Jonathon's music and he plays the music beautifully. Michael's talent and career will pursue their own direction, but the influence of Jonathon will always live in Michael's soul, close to his heart. We hope Michael will re-record some of Jonathon's compositions and imbue them with his own personal style and interpretation. There could not be a better spokesman to carry the light of Jonathon's inspirations into the world.
This new web site is intended to serve two purposes. The first is to introduce Michael Martinez as the successor to Jonathon's musical heritage, which includes his music business. The second is to continue to make Jonathon's music available for purchase by the public. This web site will replace the earlier Official Jonathan Lee Website, and will be the focus of his continuing presence in the world.
It was Jonathon's highest wish that his musical influence would persist after his death. It is to that end that this effort is dedicated.
||Oh, do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet Birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.