Former [email protected] radio personality Dylan Willows battle with cancer has come to an end.

He was 45.

In a statement, the family says “It is with immense sadness and sorrow that we announce the passing of Dylan Willows. He was surrounded by his beloved wife and immediate family. Dylan’s final days were spent as any other, filled with laughter; love; music and the occasional tease.”

Dylan’s family has requested privacy at this time. In lieu of flowers they ask that donations be made to The Zone’s annual Toy Drive, Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.

The family closed their statement, “To keep Dylan’s love and passion for music alive, support your local talent by taking your loved ones to see a local artist and a Band of the Month.”

In a post to social media, the staff at the zone said, “We miss him indescribably, and we know you do, too. The Zone, and this city, will never be the same.”

The long-time morning show host had been fighting a reoccurance of uveal melanoma, a rare form of ocular cancer. Willows was first diagnosed at the age of 25 and eventually lost an eye to the disease, but after 5 years of treatment he was deemed cancer free.

On December 1, 2023 Willows made public that the cancer had returned and that it was terminal. He then took a five-week break from the radio morning show for treatment.

He would return to the airwaves on a limited basis in January 2024 before announcing on February 15 that his treatment wasn’t working and was leaving the station after a 16 year run to spend his remaining time with his family.

“Unfortunately for me, this is it,” Willows told listeners in his final broadcast. “It’s a hard goodbye for me, it really is. It’s the end of the most consistent thing I’ve really ever had in my entire life.”

In March, friends and music industry colleagues organized a celebration/fundraising concert for Willows. Two shows at the Royal Theatre completely sold out and he took the stage each night to long standing ovations.

Dylan was originally born in Yellowknife, but graduated from Claremont Secondary in Victoria. Before his 17 year run on The Zone, he was known as ‘Big D’ on The Beat 94.5 FM in Vancouver and also was on-air at 100.3 The Q for about a year in 2005.

He was a co-founder of V.I.C. Fest that ran at St. Ann’s Academy from 2011 to 2014. He was also part of an ownership group that purchased Sugar Nightclub and ran the venue as Capital Ballroom from 2016 to 2019.

For many years during his tenure at The Zone, he was the director of the radio station’s Band of The Month program promoting numerous Vancouver Island bands and musicians. His other contributions to the community included the years of toy drives with the radio station and being a Tour de Rock media rider in 2008.

A date and location for a service in Dylan’s memory has not been announced yet.

Dylan Willows- The Zone
Photo courtesy: The [email protected]