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Eddie Money, 'Two Tickets to Paradise' singer, dies at 70

Money, whose real name was Edward Joseph Mahoney, revealed in August that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer.
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Eddie Money, the rocker behind the hit songs "Two Tickets to Paradise" and "Baby Hold On," died Friday, his publicist and family said.

He was 70.

In a statement to NBC News, Money's family said that the rocker died "peacefully early this morning."

"It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. It’s so hard to imagine our world without him, however he will live on forever through his music." the statement read.

Money, whose real name was Edward Joseph Mahoney, revealed in August that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer.

During an August clip of his AXS TV show "Real Money," the rocker said he went to the doctor for what he thought was a routine check-up when he received the cancer diagnosis.

"We found out that I had cancer and that it was stage 4 and that it was in my liver and my lymph nodes and a little bit in my stomach," he said. "It hit me really, really hard."

Season 2 of "Real Money" returned to AXS Thursday night with a special episode about Money's diagnosis, according to the show's website.

Image: Eddie Money
Eddie Money performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on May 25, 2019 in Clarkston, Mich.Scott Legato / Getty Images file

In June, Money underwent a heart valve procedure unrelated to his cancer, AXS said. According to Rolling Stone magazine, he canceled his tour over the summer so he could recover from the surgery.

Money was born in March 1949 in Brooklyn, New York. Before becoming a musician, he followed in the footsteps of his father and became an officer with the New York Police Department for two years.

After leaving law enforcement, he moved to Northern California, honing his craft and playing in local clubs. He changed his name to “Money” in 1976 and his career took off after met famed promoter Bill Graham.

Money’s website quoted Graham as saying: “Eddie Money has it all…not only can he sing, write and play, but he is a natural performer.”

His breakout 1986 song "Take Me Home Tonight," was nominated that year for a Grammy for best rock vocal by a male performer. He lost to Robert Palmer for his hit "Addicted To Love."

Younger music fans might know Money from a 2012 ad for Geico, the auto insurance company. In the spot, the rocker is running a travel agency and musically telling customers that he'll book "two tickets to paradise."

Radio personality Lou Brutus penned a touching message to Money on Twitter following the news of his death.

"I really want to impress upon you what an awesome guy Eddie Money was," he tweeted. "He was as appreciative of his fans as any artist I've ever seen. Just a regular, unpretentious fellow who treated everyone wonderfully. Always delightful to work with, too. One of the good ones."

Others who knew Money and loved his music also expressed their condolences.

The rocker's publicist Cindy Ronzoni called him a "down to earth man."

"Had the pleasure of being the publicist for @ImEddieMoney and family for the last couple of years - a time I will never forget," she wrote in a tweet, adding: "He had a big heart, great voice and loved to tell jokes."

Money is survived by his wife, Laurie, and their five children.