It’s fascinating when someone young, beautiful and famous dies unexpectedly. Especially, when you know that person through a close friend…and Myspace.
When I first heard of Matthew “Jett” Schaefer I was out with a girlfriend in Central Park. It was the summer of 2007. At one point, we were discussing past relationships when she started talking about her ex Jett. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Later I saw Jett’s profile on her Myspace page and clicked on it. Wow!…was my first reaction…and rightfully so after you see just one picture of him. Standing at 6’3″, he was not only quite handsome but also famous, successful and very fit. You could say, he was every woman’s dream man.
As time went by, I completely forgot about Jett…until he re-surfaced in a Myspace bulletin late Wednesday night. The bulletin came from a mutual friend and began with “R.I.P…” Shocked by the title, I clicked on it and discovered that Jett died on Wednesday, Jan. 7th after suffering from a rare sinus infection. The infection was the straw that broke the camel’s back because Jett struggled with a battle with cancer for some time. It appeared that he beat the cancer last fall…yet his immune system was so weak from the chemo that when the sinus infection struck, it took his life in a rapid turn. Fot the complete story of his death click here: www.forjett.com/last6/.
The reason I am telling you about Jett is because before his unexpected death on Wednesday, his image appeared on the cover of current Maximum Fitness magazine with a feature article, titled “How I cheated death.”
Ironic? Crazy? Scary? All of that!!! How could a super-fit and healthy hunk on the cover of a fitness magazine talking about “cheating” death die so soon after the magazine hit the newsstands? You may think that’s unfair and it should never happen to someone like Jett. The man was only 36 years old and on top of his modeling career. He was a successful private pilot too in his time away from the spotlight. While I don’t know him personally, I’ve been told that he was a good-hearted and down-to-earth kind of guy. He should have at least enjoyed the blessing of a wife and a child or two before he died. Sadly, that was not in the stars for him.
I wonder what Jett’s death has to teach us, the living, about life. Perhaps his Myspace song holds the key to that secret www.myspace.com/gqpilot.. My friend told me that as his condition was deteriorating in the hospital he changed his song. It was the first time I heard “Society” by Eddie Vedder. The lyrics sent chills down my spine…”society, you’re a crazy breed I hope you’re not lonely without me.” Did Jett know the end was near? It seems that he did. You should listen to the whole song so you too can grasp the retrospective message it carries.
Jett’s unfortunate death is more than a painful loss for his family and friends. It is a message for all of us regardless if we knew him or not. I’ve come to think that when young, beautiful and famous people die that message rings the loudest and clearest. All the fame, fortune, success and physical beauty means nothing without health. In the magazine article Jett describes his determination to beat cancer and get back in top shape, which he managed to do and earned the cover model spot. His fighting spirit is remarkable, admirable and quite inspiring. His ending words in the article are prophetic:
“I want to know that when I am gone, people will have learned and taken something from me to make their lives better,” he says. “I want to help as many people as I can while maximizing the most I can get from life.”
As I sit here and reflect upon the unfortunate news I can’t help but think of the irony of life. Jett may have not known then but he taught us his most important lesson in the final days of his life.
May your soul rest in peace, Jett.
March 27, 1972 ~ January 7, 2009
Jett’s Tribute Site: http://www.forjett.com/
Follow up 2.1.09:
Matt’s memorial was held on Saturday (1.31.09) in Los Angeles. For those who couldn’t attend his best friend Edward Jamison has posted the memorial video and an acting video on Matt’s memorial web site:
Link to memorial video: http://www.forjett.com/memorial
Link to acting demo: http://www.forjett.com/demo
The February issue of Muscle & Body magazine will feature a special on Matt’s story with a follow up by his mom Sharron. Apparently, they were also inspired by Matt’s fighting spirit and remarkable battle with leukemia. Keep an eye for the magazine when it hits stands in February.
© 2009 Zoe Vaklinova – All Rights Reserved