The Death of Rock: The Chronology
2010 - Present
Artists are listed alphabetically within year of demise.
- * denotes induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
- # indicates induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- ^ symbolizes induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.
- Jo Jo Billingsley
- (Deborah Jo White), cancer; she was 58. Billigsley was one of The Honkettes, the trio of back-up singers for Southern rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Billingsley had a dream prior to the 1977 plane crash in which she foresaw the tragedy. She was the only band member not on the fatal flight. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. For the entire story of the legendary plane crash, visit the Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute. "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Simple Man"
- Stuart Cable
- aspiration of vomit. Cable was the drummer with British alternative band, Stereophonics, from 1992 until 2003 and was a member of Killing for Company at the time of his death. Cable had been drinking at a local Aberdare (Wales) pub, the Welsh Harp Inn, where he left his car and walked home with friends. He continued drinking and reportedly choked to death on his own vomit while asleep. He was 40. "Dakota," "Have a Nice Day," "The Bartender and the Thief"
- Alex Chilton
- (William Alexander Chilton), heart attack. Chilton was a member of Big Star, with Chris Bell (car accident, 1978) and Andy Hummel (cancer, 2010) and The Box Tops. Chilton was in a hospital emergency room when he suffered a heart attack at age 59. With The Box Tops: "The Letter," "Cry Like a Baby," "Soul Deep"
- Rich Cronin
- leukemia. He was 35. Cronin wrote LFO's (Lyte Funky Ones) ubiquitous hit of the summer of 1999, "Summer Girls": "New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick / And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer / I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch..."
- Mike Edwards
- (later known as Swami Deva Pramada). Edwards was killed on a highway in Devon, England, when a cylindrical bale of hay rolled down a hillside and collided with his van. He was 62. (Edwards age would typically exclude him from The Archive, but I chose to include him because of the bizarre manner of his death.) Edwards played cello for Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and appeared on the albums, ELO II, On the Third Day, The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach) and Eldorado. ELO: "The Dying Swan," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Evil Woman," "Strange Magic"
- Doug Fieger
- (Douglas Lars Fieger), cancer; he was 57. Fieger was the lead singer of The Knack, popular for their 1979 hit, "My Sharona" which experienced renewed popularity when it was prominently featured in the 1994 movie, Reality Bites. "Good Girls Don't," "Rocket O'Love"
- James Freud
- (Colin McGlinchey), suicide (method undisclosed). Freud, age 51, was the frontman for the Australian band, The Models. He was found dead in his home by family members; he had been struggling with drugs and alcohol for years. Just the week prior to Freud's death, The Models were inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame. Freud did not attend the ceremony, privately revealing that he could not be around alcohol. The Models had two huge hit singles in Australia: "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" and "Barbados." Freud also scored several solo hits and published two memoirs.
- Pauly Fuemana
- died after a brief illness; he was 40. Fuemana was the lead singer of the New Zealand group, OMC (Otara Millionaires Club). The duo was best known for their international hit, "How Bizarre" (1996). The song was named Single of the Year at the 1996 New Zealand Music Awards, and reached number one in the U.S. (Billboard's Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks), Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.
- Paul Gray
- drug overdose. Gray (also known as "#2" or "The Pig"), was bassist for the metal outfit, Slipknot. The band only appeared publicly wearing grotesque masks and jumpsuits. Gray was found dead with a hypodermic needle and a bottle of pills in a hotel room in Iowa. Reportedly, he and his wife were expecting their first child at the time of his death. He was 38. Slipknot was nominated for seven Grammy Awards and a Video Music Award; the group took home a Grammy in 2006 for Best Metal Performance ("Before I Forget"). "Wait and Bleed," "Psychosocial," "Duality"
- Andy Hummel
- cancer; he was 59. Hummel co-founded Big Star with Chris Bell (killed in an auto accident in 1978) and Alex Chilton (heart attack, 2010). Hummel also played in the bands Rock City and Ice Water. Big Star: "Thirteen," "September Gurls," "The India Song"
- *Marvin Isley
- complications from diabetes. He was 56. Isley was a member of the Isley Brothers, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and Isley-Jasper-Isley, who had a #1 hit in with "Caravan of Love". Isley had both legs removed because of his diabetes in 1997. The Isleys: "Fight the Power," "I Wanna be With You," "The Pride," "Take Me to the Next Phase," "Between the Sheets"
- Mark Linkous
- self-inflicted gunshot wound to the heart; he was 47. Linkous was a singer, songwriter and frontman of the group, Sparklehorse. He was staying with two friends, drinking heavily, and became upset after trading text messages with an unknown person. Linkous told his friends that he was going for a walk and exited through a back door. A witness saw him sit down in an alley, pull out a rifle, and fire into his own chest. He was declared dead at the scene. This is not the first time Linkous had attempted suicide. In 1996 while touring with Radiohead, he overdosed on pills, alcohol and anti-depressants. He lost consciousness for 14 hours, with his legs pinned beneath him and suffered a heart attack that left him legally dead for several minutes. The time he spent without circulation to his legs put him in a wheelchair for six months. "Someday I Will Treat You Good," "Rainmaker," "Sick of Goodbyes"
- Teena Marie
- (Mary Christine Brockert), unknown medical causes. She was 54. Marie, a protege of Rick James (died 2004), was a white R&B singer who was noted for her soulful "black" vocals. The "Ivory Queen of Soul" was found dead in her home; she apparently passed away in her sleep. Marie had suffered a grand mal seizure just a month prior. Her biggest hit, "Lovergirl," reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 (1984). "I'm a Sucker for Your Love" (with Rick James), "Square Biz," "Ooh La La La"
- Teddy Pendergrass
- (Theodore DeReese Pendergrass), colon cancer. He was 59. Pendergrass was powerful R&B singer, beginning his career as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ("If You Don't Know Me By Now") and continuing on to an equally successful solo career. (Pendergrass replaced Melvin as lead singer in 1970. Melvin died in 1997 from heart problems at the age of 57.) Between 1979 and 1994, Pendergrass earned five Grammy nominations. In 1982, he was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. "Turn Off the Lights," "Love TKO," "Wake Up Everybody," "Close the Door," "I Can't Live Without Your Love"
- Jay Reatard
- (Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr.), cause of death unknown. Reatard was a prolific garage/punk musician, who released albums with The Reatards, The Lost Sounds, Bad Times, The Final Solutions, Angry Angles, Terror Visions, and Destruction Unit. Reatard also released numerous singles and two albums (Blood Visions and Watch Me Fall) as a solo artist. Reatard was discovered dead in his bed by a roommate. Friends reported that he had previously been complaining of flu-like symptoms. He was 29.
- *Garry Shider
- cancer of the brain and lungs; he was 56. Shider was musical director, songwriter and guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic. He was referred to by fans as "Starchild" or - because he often wore a loincloth while performing - "Diaperman." Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Shider was predeceased by fellow band members, Glenn Lamont Goins (1978) and Eddie Hazel (1992). "Flash Light," "One Nation Under a Groove," "Aqua Boogie," "(Not Just) Knee Deep"
- Gregory Slay
- Slay was co-founder of the band, Remy Zero, who scored hits with their songs, "Prophecy" and "Save Me". (The latter became the theme song for the television series, Smallville.) The group disbanded in 2003. That same year, Slay and two former bandmates formed Engine Room. They recorded "A Perfect Lie", which Slay co-wrote, the theme for the television series, Nip/Tuck. "A Perfect Lie" was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 2004. Slay succumbed to cystic fibrosis on New Year's Day, 2010. He was 40. Albums with Remy Zero: the self-titled Remy Zero and Villa Elaine.
- Peter Steele
- (Petrus T. Ratajczyk), heart failure. Steele was the bassist, composer and lead singer of "Gothic metal" band, Type O Negative. He stood an imposing 6' 7" tall and appeared as a nude centerfold in Playgirl in 1995. Steele was 48 at the time of his death. "Black No. 1," "Bloody Kisses," a particularly disturbing version of Seals & Crofts's "Summer Breeze"
- Robert Wilson
- heart attack; he was 53. Wilson was a member of The Gap Band, an R&B trio popular in the late '70s and early '80s, which consisted of Robert and his brothers Charlie and Ronnie. "You Dropped A Bomb on Me," "Shake," "I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Upside Your Head)"
- Tom "T-Bone" Wolk
- heart attack in 2010; he was 58. Wolk was bassist for Hall & Oates and a former member of the Saturday Night Live Band. He also worked with Daryl Hall on solo projects, and he collaborated with Carly Simon, Squeeze, Elvis Costello and Billy Joel. With Hall & Oates: "One on One," "Maneater," "Out of Touch," "Method of Modern Love," "So Close"
The Honkettes: Cassie Gaines, Leslie Hawkins, and Jo Jo Billingsley.
- Scott Columbus
- causes unknown; he was 54. Columbus was the drummer for the mythology- and fantasy-inspired metal act, Manowar. The group was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for giving the loudest performance, and they hold the record for the longest heavy metal concert - 5 hours and 1 minute (Bulgaria, 2008). Manowar's albums include Battle Hymns, Into Glory Ride, Sign of the Hammer, and The Triumph of Steel.
- Andrew Gold
- heart failure; he was 59. Gold was a composer and performer. He had a top ten hit with "Lonely Boy" and composed the song "Thank You for Being a Friend" which later became the theme song to the television series, The Golden Girls. He collaborated with numerous artists including Linda Ronstadt, Art Garfunkel, Carly Simon, Brian Wilson, John Lennon (see 1980) and Paul McCartney. Gold died in his sleep from heart failure while being treated for renal cancer. "Never Let Her Slip Away"
- Heavy D
- (Dwight Arrington Myers), respiratory ailment. Heavy D was was returning home when he experienced difficulty breathing and collapsed in the hallway of his condominium. He died at the hospital, approximately 90 minutes later. The singer was 44, weighing almost 350 pounds. Heavy D was nominated for four Grammy Awards and four Soul Train Awards (one of which he won, for the 1990 album, Big Tyme). Heavy D & the Boyz: "Now That We Found Love" and themes for the TV programs, In Living Color and MADtv. Heavy D also appears on Michael Jackson's (see 2009) single "Jam" and Janet Jackson's single "Alright".
- Jani Lane
- (John Kennedy Oswald), acute alcohol poisoning; found dead in a Los Angeles hotel. Lane, age 47, was the lead singer for '80s hair-metal band, Warrant. The group had six Top 40 singles: "Heaven," "Cherry Pie," "Sometimes She Cries," "Down Boys," "I Saw Red," and "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
- Gary Moore
- unknown causes. Moore, 58, was the guitarist for Irish rock band, Thin Lizzy. He was found dead in his hotel room while vacationing in Spain. The cause of death is still unknown. (Lead singer, Phil Lynott, died in 1986 from drug- and alcohol-related compliations.) "The Boys Are Back in Town," "Whiskey in the Jar"
- Jesus Adolfo Rayos Otanos
- murdered. Otanos was the clarinetist for the Mexican group, Hermanos Baldenegro. Three men pulled up next to the band's tour bus in Nogales, Mexico and requested that the group play a song. When the lead singer refused, one of the men pulled out a gun and fired into the bus. Otanos, who was sleeping, was shot twice, in the right leg and ankle. He later died at the hospital from heart failure. He was 30.
- Dan Peek
- cause of death currently unknown; he was found dead in his bed by his wife. He was 60. Peek was a founding member of the vocal/folk group, America. He performed lead and backing vocals, and played guitars, bass, keyboards, and harmonica during his tenure with the band (1970 - 1977). "A Horse with No Name," "I Need You," "Ventura Highway," "Sister Golden Hair," "Tin Man"
- Gerard Smith
- lung cancer. Smith was the bassist and keyboardist for TV On The Radio. Smith played on the albums Dear Science and Nine Types of Light, the latter of which was released just one week prior to his death. He was 34.
- Cory Smoot
- cause of death unknown. Smoot played the character, Flattus Maximus, in the metal band, Gwar. Several guitarists have portrayed the character; it was retired when Smoot (the most recent Maximus) was found dead on the band's tour bus. He was 34. Gwar were nominated for two Grammy Awards. "Endless Apocalypse," "If I Could Be That," "The Performer"
- Phoebe Snow
- (Phoebe Ann Laub), effects of a brain hemorrhage. She was 60. Snow's 1975 song, "Poetry Man," reached Billboard's Top Five in the Hot 100. She was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist, was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, and appeared several times as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Snow endured a brain hemorrhage in January 2010 and slipped into a coma. She died over a year later, in April of 2011. "I Don't Want the Night to End," "Harpo's Blues"
- Mike Starr
- (Michael Christopher Starr), suspected drug overdose; he was 44. Starr was the bassist for grunge icons, Alice in Chains. He was replaced in the group in 1993 after the release of the album, Dirt, because of his addiction to heroin. In February 2011, he was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance in Salt Lake City, Utah. A month later, he was found dead in a Salt Lake City home. In 2010, Starr appeared on the television series, Celebrity Rehab for heroin addiction. He remembered Alice in Chains lead singer, Layne Staley, and his death in 2002. Starr was the last known person to see Staley alive; he spent time with the singer the day before his death. He stated that Staley was extremely ill, but would not call 911. The two argued and Starr stormed off with Staley calling after him, "Not like this, don't leave like this." Starr regretted not calling 911 to save his friend's life and blamed himself for Staley's death. AIC had the heaviest sound of the early '90s grunge movement, with songs like "Would?," "No Excuses," "Down in a Hole," and "Angry Chair."
- Poly Styrene
- (Marianne Joan Elliott-Said), songwriter and vocalist for pioneering British punk band, X-Ray Spex. (She also released a single in 1976, as Mari Elliot, called "Silly Billy".) Styrene was diagnosed with breast cancer that eventually spread to her spine and lungs. She died at the age of 53. With X-Ray Spex: "Oh Bondage Up Yours!" "I Am A Cliche," "The Day The World Turned Day-Glo"
- Mikey Welsh
- (Michael Edward Welsh), found dead in a hotel room; cause of death as yet unknown. Welsh, 40, was the bassist for Weezer, from 1998 - 2001. Weezer's debut album, 1994's Weezer (The Blue Album), produced several hits, including "Undone - The Sweater Song," "Buddy Holly," and "Say It Ain't So."
- Amy Winehouse
- found dead in her apartment, acute alcohol poisoning. She was 27. Winehouse, a Grammy-winning soul singer with a retro sound, very publicly battled with drug addiction. She often made headlines for her erratic behavior and her shockingly thin and dissheveled appearance. At the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, Winehouse's second (and final) album, Back to Black, won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album (and was nominated for Album of the Year). The single, "Rehab," won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year; Winehouse won Best New Artist. (In "Rehab," she refers to fellow soul singer, Donny Hathaway, who committed suicide in 1979.) "Tears Dry on Their Own," "You Know I'm No Good," "Back to Black"
- Greg Ham
- found dead in his home. The cause of death is still unpublished; he was 58. Ham was a member of Men At Work, who scored several hits during the 1980s, including "Who Can It Be Now?" (#1 in the US), "Overkill" (#6 in the US), and the classic, "Down Under," which reached #1 in eight countries (inlcuding the US, the UK, Canada and Australia).
- Whitney Houston
- drowned at age 48. Houston, an '80s pop sensation and an award-winning actress, claimed numerous awards, including two Emmys, six Grammys, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards and an NAACP Image Award. She appeared in several films including The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, and The Preacher's Wife. Her personal life often made headlines that overshadowed her professional achievements, such as a tumultous marriage to R&B singer, Bobby Brown, and her very public battle with substance abuse. Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The coroner listed the cause of death as "drowning due to atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use." (Toxicology reports also showed Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana and Flexiril in her system.) "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love of All," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "I'm Your Baby Tonight," "I Will Always Love You," "I'm Every Woman"
- *Adam "MCA" Yauch
- cancer. Posted on the Beastie Boys website the day of Yauch's death: "It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam "MCA" Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old." The Beastie Boys won three Grammy Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. The trio were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, just prior to Yauch's death. "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)," "Intergalactic," "Sure Shot," "Sabotage," "So Whatcha Want"
- Chrissy Amphlett
- breast cancer; she was 58. Amphlett was the lead singer of Australian group, The Divinyls. Although popular in Australia, their only major US hit was 1991's "I Touch Myself," which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Amphlett disclosed in 2010 that she had been diagnosed with cancer, but since she was also suffering from multiple sclerosis, she would be unable to undergo any radiation treatment. "Pleasure and Pain," "Make Out Alright," "Boys in Town"
- Lorne Black
- (Lorne Stuart Doyle), original bassist for '80s hair band, Great White. Cause of death unknown; he was 49. He appeared on the group's album Once Bitten. . . which included the hits "Rock Me" and "Save Your Love." (Black left the band in 1987. In 2003, the group made national headlines when pyrotechnics at one of their club shows started a fire which killed over 100 people, including guitarist Ty Longley.) Post-Black, Great White had their biggest hit with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."
- Clive Burr
- multiple sclerosis; 2013. Burr was the original drummer for metal band, Iron Maiden. He joined the group in 1979 and appeared on the band's first three albums. He was 56. Iron Maiden, Killers, The Number of the Beast
- Chi Cheng
- complications from a 2008 car accident; he was 42. Cheng was the bassist for the Grammy-winning Deftones. He was involved in an automobile accident, colliding with another car, and was ejected from the vehicle (he wasn't wearing a seatbelt). He was in a coma until 2009, when it was reported that he was in a "semi-conscious state". He remained that way until he died of cardiac arrest in 2013. "Elite," "Change (In the House of Flies)," "Minerva"
- Philip Chevron
- (Philip Ryan), esophageal cancer. He was 56. Chevron was a singer-songwriter and guitarist, member of the Irish punk band, The Pogues. "Sunny Side of the Street," "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah," "Tuesday Morning"
- Jeff Hanneman
- liver failure. He was 49. Hanneman was co-founder and guitarist for the thrash metal band, Slayer. The group won two Grammy Awards for "Best Metal Performance" for 2007's "Eyes of the Insane" and 2008's "Final Six". "Hate Worldwide," "World Painted Blood"
- La Reyna de Monterrey
- Motor vehicle accident in Mexico. La Reyna de Monterrey was a group affiliated with the Banda genre of music. The driver of the vehicle that was carrying the band dozed off, hitting the side of a truck then crashing head-on with a tractor-trailer. Ten band members were killed; another five were injured.
- Alan Myers
- stomach cancer, age 58. Meyers was drummer for the New Wave group, Devo ("De-evolution") from 1976 until 1986, their most successful period. "Whip It," "Working in the Coal Mine," "Theme from Doctor Detroit"
- Dave Brockie
- undisclosed causes; age 50. Brockie was the lead singer of Gwar, "earth's only openly extraterrestrial rock band." His body was found at his home in Richmond, Virginia by a band mate. Brockie performed in costume as Gwar's frontman under the persona of "Oderus Urungus." The group was nominated for two Grammy Awards. "Sammy," "If I Could Be That," "Mary Anne"
- Wayne Static
- (Wayne Richard Wells), cause of death undisclosed; 2014. He was 48. Static was the lead vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist for metal band Static-X. Static died peacefully in his sleep. "Push It," "The Only," "I'm the One"
America: Dewey Bunnel, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek.
Alice in Chains, circa 1992:
Mike Starr (d. 2011), Jerry Cantrell, Layne Stayley (d. 2002) and Sean Kinney.
The Beastie Boys:
Adam "MCA" Yauch (d. 2012), Michael Diamond ("Mike D"), and Adam "Adrock" Horowitz.