New Bern rock star Steve Hill dies from a lung battle with cancer

New Bern rock star Steve Hill dies from a lung battle with cancer

New Bern drummer Steve Hill’s life of torturous pain has ended. 

Known as “The Doctor,” he was found dead at his home in rural Pamlico County early Aug. 18 — ending 53 years filled with fire and grit. 

The highs were 37 years on the rock-n-roll stage and the lows were more than 25 operations in 28 years from a leg shattered in 50 places during a fiery early-morning 1993 van-crash on I-85 in Gaffney, S.C.  

He was returning with his band Johnny Quest from a performance in Atlanta. 

“He never tried to show his pain, because he didn’t want others to feel sorry for him,” said Rebecca Wheeler, a first cousin who lives in Bridgeton. 

Hill’s final 11 months were personally tragic — the deaths of his mother and stepfather within weeks of each other in late 2020; followed by his diagnosis with aggressive lung cancer early this year.  

It metastasized with tumors throughout his body. Chemotherapy and radiation became another of his medical regimens. 

Still, he played on — sitting in for a high-rhythm blues song at the Brown Pelican with Big Jim Kohler and Friends in May. 

Steve Hill, center, with former bandmates Frank Scheper, left, and Mike Sandvig.

Added to those events was a crushed hand in a moped accident several years ago, which left small screws permanently inserted in his fingers. 

But he played on. 

Tributes, photos and videos poured onto his Facebook page with news of his death. A Sun Journal Facebook request for thoughts brought responses from throughout the state and as far away as Ireland 

Hill’s reputation as a rhythm master with drum sticks never diminished.  

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