David Crosby, the legendary singer-songwriter who founded some of the defining rock groups of the 1960s, has died at the age of 81, media reported Thursday.
Variety shared a statement from Crosby’s wife saying the musician died after “a long illness” and that he was surrounded by family when he passed away.
“Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us,” the statement read. “His legacy of him will live on through his legendary music.”
Sources close to the musician also confirmed Crosby’s death to Rolling Stone and NBC News.
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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Crosby was a founding member of The Byrds, a seminal band of the 1960s that blended rock and folk music. He co-wrote some of his most notable songs, including “Eight Miles High” and sang on his immensely popular versions of “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Twirl! Twist! Twist!”
After leaving the group, he formed Crosby, Stills & Nash with fellow superstars Graham Nash and Stephen Stills. The band further exploded in popularity after incorporating Neil Young to become Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Both iterations were known for their delicate harmonies, songs like “Woodstock” and “Teach Your Children”, and feuds between members that led to multiple breakups and reunions in the decades that followed.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed away,” Nash wrote in a tribute on Instagram.
“I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times, but what has always mattered to David and I more than anything else was the sheer joy of the music we created together, the sound we discovered together and the deep friendship we shared over all these long years.”
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Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for his work with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
But he admitted frequently in later years that he squandered that acclaim and goodwill when he fell into drug addiction and scared away collaborators and supporters with an abrasive personality.
He said in the 2019 documentary. David Crosby: Remember my name that Nash, Stills and Young “really don’t like me”, which got in the way of any hope of working together again.
Rolling Stone called Crosby “rock’s most unlikely survivor.” His addictions, which led to arrests and prison time in the 1980s for drug possession, culminated in a liver transplant in 1994. He also suffered from hepatitis C and diabetes.
In 2004, he was arrested on gun and marijuana charges in New York.
“It worries me that my time here is so short, and I am deeply angry with myself for the 10 years, at least, of time I wasted getting crushed on,” Crosby told Los Angeles. Times in July 2019. “I’m ashamed of that.”
He fell “as low as a human being can go,” Crosby told the Times.
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Through it all, Crosby continued to make music. He released a number of solo albums and collaborations with Nash while also working with Phil Collins, who paid for the liver transplant, and his own son James Richmond, who was a band member and writing partner for several years. long time.
Crosby fathered five other children, including two as a sperm donor to rocker Melissa Etheridge’s partner.
“He gave me the gift of family,” Ethridge said on Instagram. “Her music and her legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”
He was also prolific on social media, where he continued his outspoken support for environmental causes and his disdain for politicians.
His last tweets were sent on Wednesday expressing admiration for climate activist Greta Thunberg after she was arrested at a protest in Germany.
—With Reuters files
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