Singer who decided to live after diagnosis
L.A. Virgil-Maldonado, a singer, promoter, author and community activist, has died at the age of 51 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Ms Virgil-Maldonado, familiar to many from Bermuda’s music scene, had spent much of her time in Philadelphia but had recently returned home.
Candid about her struggle with the disease, she chronicled her experiences in the 2012 book Surrendering my Journey to the Holy Spirit.
Discussing her spirituality with The Royal Gazette, she said she started her day by asking herself: “Why am I here and who am I supposed to meet today?”
She also ventured into film: her documentary Bermuda: Isles of Devils/Land of Light was screened in 2003 at the Bermuda International Film Festival.
A turning point in her life came in November 1999, when oligodendroglioma, a brain cancer, was diagnosed.
Her response to the news, she later said, was to declare that “when I was told I was dying was when I decided to live”.
She told this newspaper that she had suspected the illness as early as her twenties.
She rallied quickly, founding the charity Cancer Assistance Research Foundation, and later establishing a record label after her move to the United States — Hisrecords Int’l Inc.
The company later became His Polishing and then His Multimedia, and she recorded a television programme, The Lightswitch, that aired on cable TV.
Cancer treatment caused lupus and other health difficulties, but Ms Virgil-Maldonado persevered, and in 2009 opted to give up treatment and continue with her life.
She wrote that “the stage I’m going through in my life right now is confronting all of the fears.
“My fears of losing my integrity, fears of rejection and fears of abandonment. However, it’s like my Bishop preaches and teaches (you have to decide) which side of the comma you want to live on.”
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