Friends remember local artist, musician ahead of celebration of life

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s been 13 years since Jason Statts, a Savannah artist and musician, was shot during an armed robbery. He was left a quadriplegic with limited movement in his hands after being shot in the neck.

Statts’ friends are preparing for their annual fundraiser to help support his medical expenses, but this time without him.

Jason Statts died on September 17 in hospice.

“He’s just a very caring, loving guy,” friend John Collenberger said. “Always asks about everyone else before he mentions anything about himself.”

“He was soft spoken, he had a great sense of humor and he never met a stranger and he was always willing to help anyone out,” friend Emily Doherty said.

Jason’s friends said his death happened quickly and was unexpected. He had been in hospice for pain management for over a year and also caught pneumonia, according to friends.

“It’s tough to think about how you’ll remember him. I just hope we do good in his eyes,” Doherty said.

Sunday, October 10 will be the 12th annual Statts Fest. Last year, the event didn’t happen in-person because of COVID-19.

Friends of Statts started the event in 2009 to help raise money for Jason’s medical bills. This year, friends said it will be a celebration of life and a time to remember someone who touched many.

“He was always grateful to the community more than anything,” Collenberger said. “The community always came out and supported Jason so I mean this is just as much for the Savannah community as for anybody else.”

Statts Fest is something Jason looked forward to each year, and now serves as a way for friends to carry on his legacy.

“This year is going to be a little bit different,” Collenberger said. “But it’s still going to be a celebration, it’s still going to be a party”

Statts Fest is happening at Starland Yard in Savannah from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 10. There will be live music, food trucks, a raffle and Statts merchandise for sale.

Organizers are also accepting donations to help with Jason’s outstanding medical bills and end of life care.

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