A Watford grandad who raised thousands of pounds for charity through posting videos of himself playing the piano on social media has sadly passed away.
Alan Melinek, better known as ‘Piano Grandad’, posted videos on TikTok in honour of his late wife Patricia, who passed away from ovarian cancer 17 years ago. His videos quickly went viral, with the money raised donated to Cancer Research UK.
Alan, who won the hearts of millions with his performances, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2021. On October 21, 2022, the 86 year old passed away, with his children by his side.
When the pandemic meant he was unable to play live, his granddaughter Bella found a new, worldwide audience via the social media platform TikTok.
Alan soon went viral, gaining 50,000 followers, and his videos have been watched more than 1.6 billion times.
The father-of-five and grandparent-of-15 continued to support Cancer Research UK and Stand Up To Cancer, despite undergoing surgery and months of chemotherapy, and raised more than £11,000.
He posted updates of his progress on TikTok and YouTube, along with a reminder to donate to the charities.
Alan received nominations for several awards and was most recently shortlisted for the ITV Pride of Britain Awards.
Alan’s daughter Elizabeth said: “We are so incredibly proud of him. As he passed away, we promised we would continue to raise more money for Cancer Research UK. As he always said, ‘It’s not if we find a cure, it’s when. How quickly is all down to funding.’”
Speaking this time last year, Alan said: “It’s devastating for so many people because so many people are affected. But I’m certain that cancer will be cured one day, whether it’s in 10 years or 100. It’s in our hands.”
Elisa Mitchell, spokesperson for Cancer Research UK in Hertfordshire, said: “Alan went above and beyond for Cancer Research UK and his determination to help our scientists find new treatments to improve survival was unrelenting. Even when he faced his own diagnosis, he remained dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help others.
“We are incredibly sad to hear of Alan’s passing and send our condolences to the Melinek family.”
To donate to Cancer Research UK, please visit fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/grandads-piano-fundraiser