THE BAND great and actor LEVON HELM is in the final stages of brutal cancer battle.

A message was posted Helm, 71, website confirming the sad news: "Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer."

Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and the illness reduced his voice to a whisper.

Yet he still continued to sing on albums and at rollicking concerts at his Woodstock home.

Helm was a key member of rock legends The Band during whose Southern drawl can be heard on "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

Helm also appeared and narrated in the film “The Right Stuff” (1983).

"All you have to do is rent The Last Waltz, the documentary that Martin Scorsese made of The Band's last performance together to be reminded what an astonishing drummer Levon was,” Levon’s costar JANE FONDA said.

"He gave the Band it's powerful, driving force, a wall of pulsating rhythm. And his voice – singing The Weight – all deep soul. I am so sad."