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Host Dylan Willows signs off from The Zone as he battles cancer

Willows, 44, bid farewell to listeners on-air in an emotional broadcast
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Victoria radio host Dylan Willows, fighting a terminal cancer diagnosis, stepped down from The Zone on Thursday. ROB PORTER

Victoria radio host Dylan Willows, who is battling cancer, announced Thursday that he has left The Zone, after nearly two decades with the modern rock station.

Willows, 44, bid farewell to listeners on-air, and said during the emotional broadcast that he will continue his fight with Stage 4 cancer away from the station.

Willows has been diagnosed with uveal melanoma, a rare form of ocular cancer, the same cancer he battled nearly 20 years ago but which returned last year.

“Not without a lack of trying and hard effort from myself and my family, and the incredible team at BC Cancer, the treatment doesn’t seem to be working the way we need it to be working,” Willows told listeners Thursday morning.

“I’m now facing very limited time and, unfortunately, that time can’t be spent here at the radio station anymore.”

After announcing he had cancer during The Zone’s Dec. 1 broadcast, the Claremont Secondary grad took a leave of absence from the morning show he has co-hosted with Jason Lamb for 16 years.

Willows returned to the airwaves in a limited capacity on Jan. 8, working when he felt up to it.

He was the most popular personality in the station’s 23-year history, a homegrown success story whose passion for radio shone through each time he turned on the microphone.

“Unfortunately for me, this is it,” he said. “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.”

He offered some heartfelt parting words, before signing off for the last time.

“I can tell you, because I’m facing it, I’m up against it — not all is lost. It’s all about love. It really is, and that’s all we need to focus on. Please remember that today, and in the tough times.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com