Long Beach local jazz legend Helen Borgers passed away Sunday after being hospitalized for nine weeks due to deteriorating health issues. She was 60.
Her family announced her death on Facebook, calling Borgers an inspiration to many in the arts.
“Helen, the woman who inspired and enriched the lives of thousands of people in art, literature, music, theatre and so much more, who followed her passion in spite of what anyone thought, took her last breath today, at high noon, after a long, brave fight with the many health issues she faced,” the statement read.
A celebration of life is being planned for the longtime Long Beach resident who originally hailed from Kansas City, Missouri.
A previously planned film screening of the classic jazz film All Night Long is still scheduled to take place Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00PM at the Art Theatre. Organizers planned to collect donations during the free screening to go toward medical expenses incurred while she was at Long Beach Memorial for nine weeks. The proceeds collected will now also go toward funeral costs.
Borgers was known as the voice of jazz on 88.1FM, formerly broadcast from Cal State Long Beach, for nearly 39 years before she was laid off in June of this year. She was the artistic director of the Long Beach Shakespeare Co. since 1997 and in 2006 she was awarded the Jazz Communicator of the Year by the Los Angeles Jazz Society.
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The Art Theatre is located at 2025 East 4th Street.