Artist Rafi Lavi, 70, Dies of Cancer

Rafi Lavi, one of the most important and beloved figures in the domestic contemporary art scene, died yesterday of cancer at the age of 70.

He raised several generations of artists, and was also a charismatic teacher and mentor.

About a month ago cancer was discovered in his pancreas.

"It means no hospitals and that I'll probably die painlessly," he said in his last interview to Haaretz's Gallery about a month ago.

"This year was the best I've ever had. [His wife] Ilana, the family .... I painted lovely paintings which I think are good. I heard lots of music. I'm ready for this day to last as long as possible, but if it ends tomorrow or the day after it's all the same to me. Another day, another year, another 10 years," he said.

"My last 10 years passed quickly .... My problem is to die properly. To control myself, not to die half a vegetable, not to be in the hospital and feel cut off."

Lavi is survived by his wife Ilana, two sons Yair and Aviv, and many devoted friends who were with him until he died.

Lavi died at home, as he had wished. He donated his body to science, so there will be no funeral.