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Michael Stanley, a Cleveland-based rocker who with his namesake band reached the Top 40 in the 1980s with the hits “He Can’t Love You” and “My Town” before going on to a long career as a radio disc jockey, has died at 72. Stanley died Thursday after a seven-month battle with lung cancer, his family said in a statement.

The rock radio station WNCX in Cleveland, where he worked for 30 years, posted a message from Stanley himself, saying: “Hey gang… Well, if you’re reading this then I am off to catch up with that big club tour in the sky. But before the bus pulls out I wanted to thank all of you for being part of my musical journey, both on the stage, on record, and behind the microphone here at WNCX.”

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Accompanied by his signature, Stanley’s send-off continued: “Somebody once said that if you love your job then it’s not really work. And if that’s true (and I definitely think it is) then I have been happily out of work for over fifty years!” The Cleveland legend released his first album while still in college and formed the Michael Stanley Band in 1974.

After a brief period of national popularity in the early ’80s, sales fell off and the band broke up in 1987. Stanley, also a songwriter, continued to record and tour, and remained beloved in his hometown as a radio and television personality, performer and recording artist. “He was so emblematic of that raging heart that doesn’t care that it’s gonna lose — it’s still gonna leave everything on the field. And when he wrote those songs, those kids in a city where the river caught on fire and the lake died, they felt like their lives mattered,” music critic and author Holly Gleason told

“If you were a kid coming of age in Cleveland in the ’70s or the ’80s, he was our hand on the brass ring.” A private funeral for Stanley was planned.

Watch “He Can’t Love You” Below.

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