Belgian-born pioneer in electronic music, Joel Vandroogenbroeck, died suddenly and unexpectedly on December 23.
Although the 81-year-old composer and musician had survived heart attacks and broken bones, it was septic shock that ended his unusual and colorful life.
As his neighbor and friend, I can attest that right up to the very end, Joel retained a childlike sense of humor and wonder that everyone found irresistible. His last words to me came over the telephone:
“John, I found some very interesting information supporting the idea that the world is really flat – we have to get together and talk about this.”
That was Joel. And when I went to the funeral home to gaze upon the white, plastic-looking face that the mortician was passing off as “him,” I fully expected to see one of those pasty eyes pop open and wink at me. That would have been a true Joel-style farewell.