Saints and LSU Tigers Fan Favorite Dies of Rare Cancer at 56

I didn’t plan this post as a follow up to the War on Cancer blog I just published. But as I read of the passing of Hokie Gajan (pronounced “guy-jean” as in Jean-Luc) at such a young age, I was unnerved. I’m just a few years older and, thank God, I’m beating cancer. Granted, I have a different type (CLL), but still – it’s cancer, damn it!

Nevertheless, I felt a need to pay respects to a fellow Louisianian. And a fellow Tiger.

Gajan died of Liposarcoma, a rare cancer that, according to Wikipedia, arises in fat cells in deep soft tissue, such as that inside the thigh or in the retroperitoneum. Liposarcoma is a rare type of cancer that bears a resemblance to fat cells when examined under a microscope.

Patients usually note a deep seated mass in their soft tissue. Only when the tumor is very large do symptoms of pain or functional disturbances occur.

Retroperitoneal tumors may present themselves with signs of weight loss and emaciation and abdominal pain. These tumors may also compress the kidney or ureter leading to kidney failure.

I didn’t know Hokie although I watched him play in Tiger Stadium in the late seventies when both of us were attending LSU. Later I followed his distinctive style on the New Orleans Saints’ radio broadcasts after his NFL playing days.

Evan Woodbery, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune does a nice job in his story.

Hokie at mic

Hokie Gajan                  Hokie @LSU

Photos credited to AP Archives, Baton Rouge Advocate and WWL AM/FM

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